Who wants to be a...Grab.com is giving away $1 Billion
October 9, 2000 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Who wants to be a...Grab.com is giving away $1 Billion Grab.com, an email marketing company announced it would give $1 Billion to the player who selects the same series of seven numbers between one and 77 that Grab.com picks at random on Dec. 28.

As the article points out, the odds of any one individual claiming the $1 billion prize are a subatomic 1 in 2,404,808,340. Compared to the chance that Berkshire Hathaway will have to cough up $1 billion this year to cover one of its natural disaster insurance policies which is something like 1 in 100.
posted by brian (17 comments total)
i'm confused...
- the odds are 1 in 2,404,808,340
- they hope to have 24,000,000 people sign up for a chance.
- 2,404,808,340 divided by 24,000,000 is 96.19

there's a 1 in 96 chance that someone will win the prize?
posted by pnevares at 1:35 PM on October 9, 2000

(this is, assuming they reach their goal of 24 million)
posted by pnevares at 1:35 PM on October 9, 2000

at the risk of spamming the comments for this post before everyone else gets a chance...
is "view source" unavailable for anyone else on this page? i'm running IE5.5 on win98se.
posted by pnevares at 2:10 PM on October 9, 2000

I can see it just fine. IE5 on NT 4
posted by owillis at 2:18 PM on October 9, 2000

There's not a 1 in 96 chance. You're assuming that one of the 24 million people will win. It's much more likely that nobody at all will win. That's why they can offer $1 billion; they're almost guaranteed they won't have to pay out a penny.
posted by kindall at 2:24 PM on October 9, 2000

There's a flaw in your math pnevares, It's not a drawing, where there's one guaranteed winner out of all possible entrants, it's a chance match.

Every single individual's chance of hitting the right number combo is 1 in 2.4 billion. So that's 24 million entrants, each with a tiny chance at winning, not 24 million raffle tickets in a hat, where one will be drawn.
posted by kokogiak at 2:26 PM on October 9, 2000

Love the fine print: winner gets $5 mil a year for 20 years, then $10 mil a year for 10 years, then $20 mil for nine years, then: a balloon payment of $620 million in the fortieth year.

No, they won't award the balloon to your cryogenically frozen head.
posted by lileks at 2:37 PM on October 9, 2000

I could live off of $5 million a year.

And I'd only be 73 at the fortieth year...
posted by iblog at 2:48 PM on October 9, 2000

i'd only be 61 and a half years old =)

kokogiak: thanks for the schooling. thank goodness i don't play the lottery =)
posted by pnevares at 3:00 PM on October 9, 2000

The proper calculation is as follows:

(1 - (1/2,404,808,340))^24,000,000

That describes the chance that no-one will win if there are 24 million entrants. Subtract that number from 1 to determine the chance that someone will win. The result is a very small number. (I don't have an appropriate calculator available to do the math.)

posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:42 PM on October 9, 2000

Lotteries are great: they give us gold medals and opera houses and museums and ballerinas, and Domes that no-one visits, and bridges that wobble.

And I never have to buy a ticket.
posted by holgate at 4:27 PM on October 9, 2000

I'll stick with my chances at Big Game or Powerball. I only play when the jackpot gets above or close to 78 million. By that time the money I've earned in interest covers my $1 entry fee for a "fair" chance for getting the big time. Anyone know a "I won...." other than a dollar or so or Oprah has the winners on? I do know my soccer coach won $48,000 and a Lincoln Town Car at AC and another neighbor, who has a serious gambling problem, won $62,000 in Vegas. No I don't know about the multiple losses but the winning stories sounded good.

posted by brent at 5:47 PM on October 9, 2000

(1 - (1/2,404,808,340))^24,000,000 = 0.990069629, according to my calculator anyway. Which puts the odds of someone winning at about 100.7-to-1 against - not the best odds in the world, but not exactly miniscule, either.

posted by youhas at 5:53 PM on October 9, 2000

about the internet explorer thing, when I first downloaded it, I had that problem. It went away after awhile though.
while the chances aren't exactly extraordinary, one should just give it a shot. SOMEONE has to win, and it's not like it costs anything (cept an email every day).
posted by starduck at 6:00 PM on October 9, 2000

Did you see this on the contest's "rules" page? "If a potential winner is a Canadian Resident, winner must successfully answer a 4-function mathematical skill testing question with a 2 minute time limit and without electronic or calculator assistance to win the prize. Failure to successfully answer the question as stated will cause the prize to be forfeited." Here's the link.
posted by letourneau at 8:32 PM on October 9, 2000

Regarding the special Canada rule, this has come up before here regarding contests. Apparently this is required by Canadian law, for some unfathomable reason.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:48 PM on October 9, 2000

Yeah, pretty much every contest here has them. The "4-functions" tend to be along the lines of:

2+(3*4) - 4 = ??

Or if they want to get "tricky" they'll have a muliplier of 10 and a divisor of 2 in there, somewhere. Generally speaking if it takes you more than 1 minute to do it, or if you get it wrong, you're still too young to know BEDMAS.
posted by cCranium at 6:05 AM on October 10, 2000

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