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Comment Re:Christmas Vacation (Score 2, Insightful) 406

The expected rewards and the cost are the utility value of the money, which does not necessarily scale linearly with the dollar amount of the money. To give an extreme example, if I need $1000 today, and otherwise will die a horrible death, but only have $100, and my only opportunity to make money is to play a game which pays $1000 on a $100 bet 1/20th of the time, it would be entirely rational for me to play. In that case, the utility value of $1000 is much more than ten times the utility value of $100.

Lottery playing is not necessarily irrational even if most people who play the lottery are acting irrationally. While many parts of our society treat the utility/dollar curve as linear for the sake of simplicity, that isn't inherently true.

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