The odds are more than 1 in a million that you’ll be the one to take home the $1 million grand prize in the “Nevada Vax Days” raffle.
Or, to be more precise, about 1 in 1.6 million, according to mathematician Ashok Singh, a professor at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.
Singh calculated the odds of winning one of the prizes in the state’s raffle, which beginning Thursday will award cash, college tuition and other prizes to Nevada residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible Nevadans are automatically entered in the raffle.
The odds of winning either the $250,000 or $50,000 prize in Thursday’s drawing? About 1 in 1.4 million, based on the more than 1.4 million residents ages 18 and older who have gotten a shot, the group eligible for cash prizes. The odds of winning one of the four $25,000 prizes are about 1 in 357,000. One of 10 $1,000 prizes? One in about 143,000.
Tuition prizes for post-secondary education are available to vaccinated residents ages 12 to 17. That number as of Tuesday was 62,624, according to Shannon Litz, a representative of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
With fewer people in this age group vaccinated, the odds are better. The odds of winning the $50,000 tuition prize Thursday are about 1 in 64,000. They’re roughly 1 in 21,000 for winning one of the three $20,000 tuition prizes, and 1 in 6,400 for one of the 10 $5,000 prizes.
As for winning one of 125 fishing licenses Thursday, for which all vaccinated Nevadans are eligible, the odds are about 1 in nearly 12,000. For winning one of 50 annual entrance permits to state parks? One in nearly 30,000.
“The odds are very reasonable,” Singh said Wednesday of the raffle scheme, especially considering that “nobody is spending any money” to enter.
There are other odds to consider in getting a shot, however.
Nearly one in 10 people in Nevada have tested positive for COVID since the start of the pandemic. About one in 544 people in the state have died of the disease.
The prizes will be announced over eight consecutive Thursdays, ending with a flourish on Aug. 26 with the grand prize of $1 million.
Calculating the odds of winning is more complicated than it might appear.
In calculating the odds for the grand prize and other prizes down the pike, Singh had to estimate how many more people will get vaccinated between now and Aug. 26 by analyzing the state’s current COVID-19 inoculation trends. His calculations also show that odds for some prizes will improve as more are offered.
But for the grand prize, as more people get vaccinated, the odds will get worse. Exactly how much worse will depend on how many people are enticed by the prizes to get a shot, which is the aim of the raffle.
Gov. Steve Sisolak will announce the first winners of the state’s “Vax Nevada Days” raffle at 6 p.m. on Thursday inside the Tyrone Thompson Student Union on the College of Southern Nevada’s North Las Vegas campus.
The public health initiative, launched last month to try to increase the state’s vaccination rate, will hand out $5 million in cash and prizes.
Nevadans who have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are generally entered into the raffle. A $1 million grand prize winner will be announced on Aug. 26.
Winners of larger cash prizes and tuition prizes will be contacted in advance of each announcement but will not know the specific prize they won until the announcement date.