Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lottery Fever....Get a Grip People!

Ok, after I heard about the woman who started a GOFUNDME campaign because she spent all her savings on Powerball Tickets(and didn't win anything of course)and wanted complete strangers to send her money because she was broke, and people were actually giving her money!!! before the site shut her down,  I just had to write something.

Yeah, me keep my big mouth shut?  Who didn't see THAT happening?! lolz

Lotteries are bad ideas for the most part.
True they do fund some government programs and fill the state's coffers.
But the percentage of ticket sales that actually go into winner's pockets and the odds of winning, especially a multi-state super lottery drawing like Powerball, are so not weighted in your favor.
While playing games of chance at casinos are always in favor of the house and against you, the odds of winning a state or multi-state lottery are almost nil.
The jig is up, it's a highly rigged game!

A guy named James Walsh wrote a book back in 1996 called "True Odds".  It's about how risk affects your everyday life.  It's an interesting read especially if you are a statistics fan or numbers geek.

Mr. Walsh named one of the chapters, "Lotteries are a tax on the stupid".
That sounds a bit harsh(if not ultimately true), but I'd change it to "Lotteries are a tax on the foolish and the poor.".

The people most likely to play the lottery are the ones who can least afford to lose money on them, the poor.  People who think of themselves as poor seem to play the lottery often if not weekly.  I guess if you have so little money and have little to no hope of ever rising up on the socioeconomic ladder that you feel that your best, if not only, shot at being economically advantages is to hit a lottery.  The dream of winning big gives people with the least hope something to grab onto, if not just for a moment or two.

I have heard it said by more than one person I know, that a large part of their retirement plan is to play and hit the lottery.  Some people might say this as a joke but my mother truly believed that her numbers would come in one day and for a time she played religiously with the little income she had.  She even went so far as to keep track of the odds of which numbers were "due to hit" in a notebook and studied it frequently before picking her lottery numbers.
I'll let you know that her numbers never came in. Gee, aren't you shocked? ;-)  She was able to keep her gambling "in check" and didn't lose every dollar she had, unlike some addictive personality folks out there who lose it all betting in casinos, racetracks, football pools and/or state lotteries.

While winning the big prize in a lottery is akin to the odds of a modern day person being eaten by a dinosaur I am always happy for the folks who actually win(and equally sorry for all those who pissed away lots of money buying the losing tickets too).

But this go around, I saw spiteful people who threw money away on loosing tickets making terrible comments on social media about the holders of those 3 winning tickets.  There was a rumour making the rounds that the person who bought a winning ticket in Callifornia was a 27 year old hedge fund manager, who may have purchased $20K in tickets.  Once that story made the rounds the vitriol was flying!
"Must be nice to be able to spend $20K on lottery tickets?!"
"Someone like this doesn't 'deserve' to win!"
"There needs to be laws so that rich people can't play the lottery!"
Just wow.
What do these reactions say about us as a culture?
Sour grapes is one thing but this is ridiculous!

Let's get a grip people.
Gambling is not a long term financial plan so don't count on it as such.
If you want to waste a couple of bucks playing the lottery be my guest and have your little "if I was rich fantasy".
But don't come crying to me(or any social programs our government runs funded by tax dollars)when you piss away all your economic wealth on highly risky games of chance, asking for us to bail you out.
And for gosh sakes, get your heads out of your asses and don't go grumbling and getting pissed at the people who do beat the astronomical odds and win.



  1. I had a friend who did this is real life. She overspent, then had a house-related emergency. She complained to me that she said she had to sell off part of her inheritance to pay for the emergency. Then, she expected me to help fund her life by buying her dinner and such--"because I am in financial straits and need some fun."

    Sorry, but when you are foolish and have thousands of acres and must sell fifty acres, I feel no pain for you.

  2. Oldest daughter's college roommate's grandpa won big in Virginia in the 90's. I believe it was over 3 million and he immediately gave his daughter (only child) a check for half. We moved so I have no idea how it turned out but Gramps was a widower and probably had a fair number of gals after him. Roommate got a new sewing machine- I think her parents had planned to buy the house next to them, make some kind of breezeway and stay where they were living. My DD transferred schools and I don't remember the last name(bet DD does) so I might google it sometime just for fun. I never buy tickets.

  3. I wouldn't waste my money on the lottery.

  4. Sluggy,

    Frankly I think it is shameful that the government indulges in gambling. Good post.


  5. Go Sluggy, go Sluggy, go Sluggy! I buy about 2 a year. I don't even know why I buy them but I can afford it. Sounds like these are the same people drinking Starbucks and smoking and then whining why they can't afford their rent. The go fund me thing? Definitely an idiot born every day.

  6. I was excited for a few moments when i heard 27 year old guy in CA-but my son doesn't have $2 let alone $20K to gamblet! I just posted a couple days ago about our little pool in the office. My first participation in Powerball for ages-if at all. My grand investment was $6 over three drawings, but yep, $6 was pretty much wasted. I guess the fun bantering in the office,and the camaraderie I guess was worth that much. A few coworkers though probably were well over $26 for their shares. Absolutely not a retirement plan, and I hope the winners get positive financial planning help, give and invest wisely, and don't let scummy people take advantage of them.

  7. GREAT, GREAT, GREAT post!!!

    I saw this posted on facebook during the whole ordeal and I couldn't help but laugh hysterically:
    your chances of being struck by lightning while simultaneously drowning are 1 in 183 million and your chances of winning the Powerball are 1 in THREE HUNDRED MILLION.

    So, yeah, the odds are against you. I mean, you're more likely to be struck by lightening WHILE drowning... It's a sad, sad thing.

    I worked in a gas station for a few years and it was really sad watching "the regulars" who came in every single day and blew tons of money on the lottery. But I've never actually heard anyone say that the lottery was their retirement plan. That makes me really really sad. Wow!

  8. Remember when you suggested I buy a Powerball ticket on Jan 7th for Megan's birthday? I told you AL doesn't allow gambling and you said to go to Florida. Well, this past Wednesday, I sent my poor hubby to Pensacola to buy a PB ticket because I wanted to dream big for a day like everyone else. While I was at work, he drove 45 minutes to spend $6 so I could have a moment. He gave me the same spiel about my chances were as good as getting hit by lightning while being eaten by a shark. And my argument was that someone would win and if you don't play at all, your chances are zero. Well, of course I didn't win, but what REALLY made me mad was this article:
    It describes how much tax I'd have to pay in Alabama if I had won and they don't even allow the lottery in Alabama!!!! How messed up is that??? If I lived in Florida I wouldn't have to pay anything because there is no personal income tax. Now tell me how that's freakin' fair?

    1. Yah, states don't care if they are fair. They just want their pound of flesh out of all their residents.
      I don't have a beef with folks who play the lottery now and again, who can afford to loss the "investment" because for them it's more entertainment value than not.
      Your poor Hubs though....lolz

  9. I buy lottery tickets a couple of times a year when we go to Florida. I look at it as making a wee (very wee since I buy 1 ticket each time) donation to the Fla. educational system.

  10. Even living in Europe I heard of the Powerball lottery madness or fever (as the media use to put it), which, I have to admit spread overseas. In a way it touched upon me, so that i decided to play it online, Icelotto review. I wasted several couple Euros, still i didn't blame anyone I was understanding the risk. On the other hand I felt myself part of the history, which is cool.


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