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What are the odds?

Who wouldn’t like to win a lottery? Most of us would like to snag that big jackpot—or even a little one.

We all have a desire to be the next big winner, with dreams and fantasies about how we would manage our money, bills we would pay off, trips we would take, college and university educations paid for, family members and friends taken care of.

When we think of the odds of winning, we often err on the side of optimism, thinking things like, “Well, someone has to win. It could be me just as well as someone else.”

We buy 6/49 and Super 7 (don’t forget the Encore), scratch tickets, raffle tickets, and break-open tickets, and play Bingo and most anything else that offers a chance at a financial windfall.

Well, let’s actually have a look at those odds and compare them to another set of odds.

Super 7 odds

•7 of 7 numbers—1 in 20,963,833

•6 of 7 numbers + bonus—1 in 2,994,883

•6 of 7 numbers—1 in 76,791

•5 of 7 numbers—1 in 1,280

•4 of 7 numbers—1 in 60.6

•3 of 7 numbers + bonus—1 in 65.5

•3 of 7 numbers—1 in 7.3

Odds of winning any prize are roughly 1 in 6.

Lotto 6/49 odds

•6 of 6 numbers—1 in 13,983,816

•5 of 6 numbers + bonus—1 in 2,330,636

•5 of 6 numbers—1 in 55,491

•4 of 6 numbers—1 in 1,032

•3 of 6 numbers—1 in 57

•2 of 6 + bonus—1 in 81

Odds of winning any prize are approximately 1 in 32.3.

Now some different odds:

•Ratio of Ontarians who will experience a mental illness in their lifetime—1 in 4

•Ratio of Ontarians who have a family member, friend, or colleague who experiences a mental illness in their lifetime—3 in 4

•Number of people in Ontario who will have an anxiety disorder—1 in 10

•Number of people in Ontario who will have a mood disorder—1 in 10

•Number of people in Ontario who will have schizophrenia—1 in 100

•Percentage of Ontarians with a serious mental illness who never receive help—47%

•Percentage of Ontarians with a moderate mental illness who never receive help—72.3%

•Percentage of Ontarians with a mild mental illness who never receive help—89.6%

It kind of gives you a different way of “looking at the odds,” doesn’t it?

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