Buying Lottery Tickets Reflecting on the Behavior of those who Play the Lottery

I can only imagine how much some of my cohorts have wasted on gambling and the lottery. I know people who buy one, two or three tickets a week that win next to nothing, yet continue to play. They probably have averaged about 10% back each, It’s hard for someone who went to college for mathematics such as myself to understand the logic of these people. For someone who doesn’t understand the mathematical implications, it could be rather alluring. It can be fun, somewhat exciting, and it gives us a sense of false hope. They say things such as “if you don’t play, you can’t win” and “all you need is a dollar and a dream.” Let’s be serious.

It just does not make sense to play the lottery, ever. There are two reasons people play the lottery, and neither of them are good reasons. The first is that people think that they can user the lottery as a way to wealth. The truth is that you are throwing money away when you play the lottery! You are not finding some secret road to wealth that they don’t want you to know about. You are 35,000 times more likely to get struck by lightning than you are to win the lottery, even if you play every week for all of your adult life. It just doesn’t make sense to play; you are not going to win. Someone wins, but it’s not going to be you! If you want a sure fire way to get money out of the lottery, put a few bucks in a savings account every week, by the time you retire, you might have a few thousand in it, it might not be great, but it’s still better than the lottery!

The second reason play the lottery is it because it gives them a sense of false hope. People think that if God really wants them to be happy, He’ll let them win the lottery. People think that the lottery is a way to wealth, away to allow you to be very generous, and the like. Playing the lottery lets you dream of all of the great things that you would do if you won the lottery. But if you don’t have that infinitesimal chance of winning, you can’t allow that dream to live on in your head, because then the possibility does not exist. Don’t accept the sense of false hope that the lottery gives you, because after you round to the 5th or 6th digit, the chance of winning the lottery is just the same if you do or do not play.

Don’t be stupid, don’t play the lottery.