Andy Beyer examined the Gulfstream Pick 6 Jackpot whose rollover is well into 7 figures now.
Beyer makes one really salient point:
The takeout on the Rainbow 6 – i.e., Gulfstream's cut – is 20 percent. After 40 percent of the remainder goes into the jackpot pool, the effective takeout is a staggering 52 percent unless someone holds the sole perfect ticket. It's tough enough for the best of handicappers to overcome a 20 percent takeout rate; a 52 percent takeout makes the Rainbow 6 a worse investment than the lottery.
My question is: does anyone play this?
I've played it a three times and missed a consolation payout by a nose. Honestly, I've never hit a Pick 6, only consolation payouts. In fact, had Paynter won (aaahhhh! it always comes back to this!) I would've hit 5 of 6 at Belmont for a nice consolation payoff on a cheap ticket. But I'm not really that into the massive horizontal bets so the sample size is extremely small.
It seems to me that the only day to play this is a day with a mandatory payout. The odds that you are the only one to hit the Pick 6 on any given day seems to not be worth it. Even Steve Crist says,
"I would counsel people not to play it unless there is a mandatory payout [on closing day] or a seven-digit carryover."
Seems like throwing good money after bad to me.