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gwern comments on New Improved Lottery - Less Wrong

41 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 April 2007 11:42PM

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Comment author: gwern 23 February 2013 03:55:50PM 8 points [-]

For those who labor under the delusion that a 'premium bond' means the usual things about pars and coupons, it turns out that in the UK, a Premium Bond is something much more interesting:

A Premium Bond is a lottery bond issued by the United Kingdom government's National Savings and Investments agency. The bonds are entered in a regular prize draw...There are many different prizes ranging from £25 to the top prize of £1,000,000 (between 2005 and 2009, there were two £1m prizes each month and the minimum prize was £50, but prizes were reduced after the large 2009 drop in interest rates). Investors can purchase bonds at any time; bonds need to be held for a full calendar month after the month in which they are bought, e.g. purchase in January, eligible for March. Numbers are entered each month, with an equal chance of winning any prize, until the bond is cashed in....From 1 January 2009 the odds of winning a prize for each bond number held was 36,000 to 1. In October 2009, the odds returned to 24,000 to 1 with the prize fund interest rate increase.[3] Around 23 million people own Premium Bonds,[citation needed] over one third of the UK population.

Comment author: whowhowho 23 February 2013 05:27:37PM *  0 points [-]

However, I don';t think most premium bond holders (I am one, to a very modest extent) live their lives in a state of blissful anticipation.

Comment author: gwern 23 February 2013 09:59:42PM 1 point [-]

Probably not, yeah, but what that means is unclear. A refutation of the claim for regular lotteries that they're a good source of hope? Eliezer's justifications for a lottery 2.0 almost exactly like Premium Bonds? Some sort of adaptation? A flaw in Premium Bonds which would be fixed if they moved to a faster setup like draws every hour?

Comment author: whowhowho 27 February 2013 12:52:36AM 0 points [-]

I thought the empirical datum might be of interest. One can draw ones own conclusions from data.