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Virginia Tech statistics professor says America's lottery obsession may produce thrills but isn't worth the cost

Buying a lottery ticket can produce a thrill but it’s not likely to put millions in the purchaser’s bank account, says Virginia Tech statistics professor J.P. Morgan.

The Mega Millions jackpot is expected to climb above $508 million, putting it among the largest jackpots in U.S. lottery history, and increasing interest in the game. 

Morgan, who has examined the system and can discuss the American obsession with winning big, offers this advice: “Play imaginary lottery twice a week for a year and you will have 'won' $104! Use it to take your true love out to dinner and count yourself the real winner.”

How do lotteries work? What are the chances of winning? Is the thrill of buying a lottery ticket worth the cost? Morgan is available for interviews leading up to the next Mega Millions drawing on Friday.

Morgan’s full bio

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