Why You Should Think Twice Before Playing the Lottery


A lottery is a scheme for distributing prizes by chance among persons who buy chances. According to Merriam-Webster, the word is derived from lot meaning “distribution by lot; allotment by chance; a choice determined by fate or chance.” In other words, it’s a gambling game in which you try to win a prize for a small amount of money. People in the United States spend over $80 billion on Lottery each year, and they should think twice before putting their hard-earned money into this type of gambling.

Most people buy tickets to the Lottery for one reason – they want to be rich. And it’s true that some people do become very rich, but it happens to a small percentage of players, and it doesn’t happen to all of them. Moreover, the odds of winning are pretty stacked against you, and the more tickets you purchase, the less likely you’ll actually win.

When you see those billboards on the highway promoting a Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot, you may be tempted to buy a ticket. But what you don’t realize is how much money the state is making off of your participation, and that the prize size is a bait-and-switch. States often advertise the jackpot as a one-time lump sum payment, but the reality is that the winner will probably get paid in an annual annuity, with withholdings from federal and state income taxes.

There are two messages that lottery commissions rely on to promote their games. First, they tell people that they are raising money for the state, and second, they promote this idea of meritocratic success where anyone can be rich if they just play the Lottery. The problem with this second message is that it obscures the regressivity of Lottery, and it leads to more and more people participating in a rigged system.

Another reason to reconsider your decision to buy a Lottery ticket is that it’s incredibly expensive. Americans spend over $80 Billion per year on the Lottery, and this money could be better spent on an emergency fund or paying down credit card debt.

Lastly, you should also consider that if you do win the Lottery, it’s important to remember that you will likely be paying a lot of taxes on your winnings, and this can significantly reduce your final payout. Many winners go bankrupt within a few years of winning the Lottery, because they haven’t built an emergency fund and have gone on spending sprees.

Finally, you should consider joining a lottery syndicate to save money on ticket purchases and increase your chances of winning. A syndicate can be a fun way to socialize with friends and make new ones, and you can always split the money if you don’t win. But, before you join a syndicate, it’s important to understand the risks and benefits. If you are interested in learning more about a syndicate, click here to read our guide on how to start a syndicate.