Fox News advises Powerball players to buy 'as many tickets as you can afford'
Want to win the $1.5B US Powerball lottery jackpot? Bottoming out your bank account won't do much help
The odds of winning Wednesday night's $1.5 billion US Powerball jackpot draw are roughly one in 292.2 million.
Statistically speaking, this means you're about twice as likely to be killed by a vending machine than win "the largest jackpot in history" with just one ticket.
Ten tickets, on the other hand … well, you've still got a better shot at achieving Catholic sainthood than you do of waking up a billionaire on Thursday.
While true that the more tickets one purchases, the better the odds of winning, most financial experts would advise against putting every cent you have into the Powerball draw.
Not Fox News guest Richard Lustig! His advice for Americans looking to get a slice of the Powerball pie?: "Buy as many tickets as you can afford."
Watching Fox News is like watching regular news from Bizarro's home world. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Powerball?src=hash">#Powerball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stupifying?src=hash">#stupifying</a> <a href="https://t.co/KwyjNxFf99">pic.twitter.com/KwyjNxFf99</a>—@bradchoma
Lustig, a former professional drummer, does not have a background in finance or statistics. He has won the lottery seven times though, and published a book called Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery in 2010.
The Florida native joined Fox & Friends over the weekend to discuss his strategy and give viewers some tips on achieving their own lottery-backed financial goals.
"We're going to try to make you rich, everybody!" said one of the program's hosts ahead of the segment on Saturday, whistling as her co-host mentions Lustig's seven lottery wins. "Seven times?"
The hosts of Fox & Friends — which brought in martial arts experts last month to teach kids how they can "disarm" school shooters — start by asking Lustig about how his long-term lottery strategy applies to people who only want to play the Powerball casually.
"There is no last-minute, one particular thing you can do to increase your chances of winning," he starts. "Except — this is going to sound bad but it's the only answer — buy as many tickets as you can afford. That's the key."
If I win the Powerball, I'll have more $$$ than Tiger? ::buying all the tickets I can afford:: "Thanks, Fox News!" <a href="https://t.co/9Gq88M2AUZ">https://t.co/9Gq88M2AUZ</a>—@GormoExJourno
To his credit, Lustig does tell people to be wary of "lottery fever" and not to "spend money you can't afford to spend."
"You probably don't just mean in order to still be able to buy groceries but like, don't blow all your savings and stuff too," says the female Fox News host as she breaks into laughter.
An image of Lustig on screen with his most controversial tip has been circulating online since the segment aired, prompting a good deal of criticism from both media critics and money experts.
"It's bad advice because, believe it or not, there's essentially no meaningful improvement in your chances of winning if you were to buy $1 million worth of tickets instead of $2 worth of tickets," said Craig Harrington, the economic policy program director for American non-profit Media Matters to Yahoo News. "So, urging people to buy as many tickets as they can won't really do anything for them, unless they're able to buy about $300 million worth of tickets."
Fox News wants you to waste as much money "as you can afford" on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Powerball?src=hash">#Powerball</a>. Don't do that <a href="https://t.co/1FEMLwCh00">https://t.co/1FEMLwCh00</a> <a href="https://t.co/VcXVBH3hBi">pic.twitter.com/VcXVBH3hBi</a>—@Craigipedia
"An even bigger problem is that this is a monumentally terrible idea from a financial perspective," wrote Business Insider, which called Lustig's tip "literally the worst piece of advice about the lottery ever given."
"Assuming you take the lump sum, which you likely should, and factoring in taxes, each one of those tickets has a negative expected value, meaning that each lottery ticket represents a likely loss of money," the piece continued. "Buying more tickets, then, just increases the amount of money you're likely to lose."
The Powerball lottery is being drawn at 10:59 p.m. ET Wednesday.