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Unemployed: Play the lottery or not?

Editorial / OpinionEditorial / Opinion: Unemployed: Play the lottery or not?

by Dan Weiser

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot is worth an estimated $212 million.  Right now, it is the largest lottery jackpot in the country, including the multi-state Powerball.  In fact, it's the largest lottery jackpot in the world.

The next drawing is Tuesday night and a winning ticket will bring riches to at least one person.  $212 million dollars is the stuff dreams are made of, but in these uncertain times winning would be ... well, hard to put into words.

The unemployment rate in California is just over 10%.  The chances of winning the lottery are one in several million.  To state the obvious, you are much more likely to know someone who is unemployed than to know someone who will win or even has won the lottery.  Still, the idea of buying a ticket has a certain allure.

It can be tempting to put down just $1 to buy a ticket, especially if you are unemployed or on furlough.  But, you know that you won't win and it is a waste of money.  You know that when people say it is a bad investment — you realize it's not really an investment at all. Still there's that allure.

You've heard the numbers:

  • If one person purchases 50-lotto tickets each week, they will win the jackpot about once every 5,000 years.
  • It is three times more likely for a person driving ten miles to buy a Lotto ticket to be killed in a car accident than to win the jackpot.
  • And, the odds are greater (1-in a million) to die from a flesh eating bacteria or a lightning strike (1 in 30,000) than it is to win the lottery.

Still there's that allure to play and you wonder "What's the harm?"

Playing the lottery and winning the lottery are two very different ideas.  If you buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket for Tuesday's drawing it's pretty certain that you will not win.  But, if you shell out one dollar to play the Mega Millions lottery for Tuesday's drawing it's pretty certain that you will enjoy the dream of winning.  If you are unemployed or on furlough buying a ticket will give you a little bit of hope.

Spending $1 for a few days of hope doesn't seem like such a bad "investment" after all.

Examiner

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31 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by randommusings.
Page 1 of 3
charmed7's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg
MICHIGAN
United States
Member #65282
September 22, 2008
1846 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 2, 2009, 10:11 am - IP Logged

Everyone know now the meaning of budget.  So i think its ok, to spend

a few bucks, here and there on the lottery. Never know where your

blessing will fall.

    JAP69's avatar - Lottery-053.jpg
    South Carolina
    United States
    Member #6
    November 4, 2001
    8492 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 2, 2009, 10:21 am - IP Logged

    When the unemployed buys a lottery ticket they are putting money into the U.S. treasury as well as the states if taxed.

    Pretty high tax rate on that amount of money.

    I might add the tax rate is going to be increased. More of your lottery win will go to the treasury.

    Stats hunting: Type

      MissNYC's avatar - diva
      Westchester, New York
      United States
      Member #49345
      January 27, 2007
      168 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 2, 2009, 11:23 am - IP Logged

      My thought is that someone has to win right? So for that 1 person, the idea that it can't happen, isn't true. I don't think there is anything wrong with an unemployed person dropping $1 on a ticket, but I do think there is something wrong with anyone dropping $20 or more on tickets. That could by lots of other things and they hold up the line.

      "If you just keep believing, that dream that you wish will come true"

      Bed

       

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
        Member #9
        March 24, 2001
        17727 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 2, 2009, 12:25 pm - IP Logged

        My thought is that someone has to win right? So for that 1 person, the idea that it can't happen, isn't true. I don't think there is anything wrong with an unemployed person dropping $1 on a ticket, but I do think there is something wrong with anyone dropping $20 or more on tickets. That could by lots of other things and they hold up the line.

        When I buy $20 worth of lottery tickets, I've made out play slips so the clerks don't spend any more time serving me than they do with those unemployed customers buying cigarettes and beer.

        * you don't need more tickets * 
        * just the right ticket * 
           Wink 

          ThatScaryChick's avatar - AbnSTiA

          United States
          Member #56506
          November 21, 2007
          4565 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 2, 2009, 1:10 pm - IP Logged

          My thought is that someone has to win right? So for that 1 person, the idea that it can't happen, isn't true. I don't think there is anything wrong with an unemployed person dropping $1 on a ticket, but I do think there is something wrong with anyone dropping $20 or more on tickets. That could by lots of other things and they hold up the line.

          What is wrong with some dropping $20 or more on tickets? Some people can afford to. Buying $20 worth of tickets doesn't really hold up the line any longer then buying grocerys or paying for gas so I don't see what the problem is.

          "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

            CowboysFan's avatar - Cowboys
            Sunny California
            United States
            Member #63790
            August 8, 2008
            220 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 2, 2009, 1:21 pm - IP Logged

            I remember reading a story a few years ago about a man who only had a few dollars left to his name and he used the rest of it to buy lotto tickets and he ended up winning. I can't remember if it was here in California or some other state. You never know when its your turn to get lucky so there really isn't any harm in buying one ticket.

              maringoman's avatar - kobold
              Massachusetts
              United States
              Member #37433
              April 14, 2006
              1887 Posts
              Online
              Posted: March 2, 2009, 1:25 pm - IP Logged

              It's their right to do with their unemployment checks what they desire, right? Its a free country after all,  I say we let unemployed people play the lottery.

                Avatar
                Qabloc!zewana
                Neutral Zone
                Member #14628
                April 29, 2005
                31 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 2, 2009, 3:35 pm - IP Logged

                Ok.  I think I've got the winning ticket, so everyone can save their money and not buy anymore.

                Besides, my jackpot probably won't go up any more than the lousy future value of $212Mil.

                 

                 

                 

                Why don't they say the jackpot is $9.3 Octillion, paid over 26 Billion years?

                  justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                  Wandering Aimlessly
                  United States
                  Member #25360
                  November 5, 2005
                  4457 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 2, 2009, 4:19 pm - IP Logged

                  I don't understand why someone would question this at all.  If you collect unemployment, that means you worked for it, since you need to qualify based on previous employment and wages.  Even if you collect a disability check, it means you earned the money, since it's based on your social security earnings.  We might as well say that people over 65 collecting Social Security or anyone on Medicare shouldn't play either.   Then we need to make a list of all the bad habits people shouldn't be blowing their money on like cigarettes and booze.  What about renting a movie?   If you rent a movie it costs more than buying a few lottery tickets.   Next time you go into Applebee's or Chili's don't forget to stand up and ask how many people there are collecting unemployment or are past due on their credit cards or car payments. 

                  Server:   May I help you?

                  Customer:  We'd like a plate of those baby back ribs, some chili and a couple of beers.

                  Server:  Sure, but first I need to run your credit and check your employment status.

                    GamerMom's avatar - tails

                    United States
                    Member #60535
                    April 21, 2008
                    460 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 2, 2009, 4:22 pm - IP Logged

                    I don't understand why someone would question this at all.  If you collect unemployment, that means you worked for it, since you need to qualify based on previous employment and wages.  Even if you collect a disability check, it means you earned the money, since it's based on your social security earnings.  We might as well say that people over 65 collecting Social Security or anyone on Medicare shouldn't play either.   Then we need to make a list of all the bad habits people shouldn't be blowing their money on like cigarettes and booze.  What about renting a movie?   If you rent a movie it costs more than buying a few lottery tickets.   Next time you go into Applebee's or Chili's don't forget to stand up and ask how many people there are collecting unemployment or are past due on their credit cards or car payments. 

                    Server:   May I help you?

                    Customer:  We'd like a plate of those baby back ribs, some chili and a couple of beers.

                    Server:  Sure, but first I need to run your credit and check your employment status.

                    I was going to say the same thing but use McDonald's as an example. 

                     

                    As for holding the line up I always do quickpicks.  It doesn't take that long to print out 50 quick picks.

                      susie545's avatar - Lottery-034.jpg
                      Lux
                      United States
                      Member #67800
                      December 5, 2008
                      156 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 2, 2009, 5:50 pm - IP Logged

                      When I buy $20 worth of lottery tickets, I've made out play slips so the clerks don't spend any more time serving me than they do with those unemployed customers buying cigarettes and beer.

                      Good points.  But, y don't they drop de price to dem 10 cents tickets once more.  lol again.Smile

                      also, don't waste baby's money on lottery tickets with no job

                      who is oprahSun Smiley

                        bigato1010's avatar - army

                        United States
                        Member #33588
                        February 22, 2006
                        2068 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: March 2, 2009, 6:06 pm - IP Logged

                        just play a dollar only , at least you in it.You part of the game. Good luck anything is possible.

                          computerhead723's avatar - lightbulb
                          Buffalo
                          United States
                          Member #54397
                          August 17, 2007
                          228 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: March 2, 2009, 6:21 pm - IP Logged

                          I don't understand why someone would question this at all.  If you collect unemployment, that means you worked for it, since you need to qualify based on previous employment and wages.  Even if you collect a disability check, it means you earned the money, since it's based on your social security earnings.  We might as well say that people over 65 collecting Social Security or anyone on Medicare shouldn't play either.   Then we need to make a list of all the bad habits people shouldn't be blowing their money on like cigarettes and booze.  What about renting a movie?   If you rent a movie it costs more than buying a few lottery tickets.   Next time you go into Applebee's or Chili's don't forget to stand up and ask how many people there are collecting unemployment or are past due on their credit cards or car payments. 

                          Server:   May I help you?

                          Customer:  We'd like a plate of those baby back ribs, some chili and a couple of beers.

                          Server:  Sure, but first I need to run your credit and check your employment status.

                          So  true  if  people  want  to  buy  tickes  or  beer  or  ciggs.  thats  their  choice  , look  after  8  years  of  George  Bush  and  10 Billion  a  month  in  Iraq  who  cares  if  someone  buys  a ticket    at  the  lottery   ....just  think  if  he  wins  what   would  the   people  say  then......

                          when  in   NY  state  the  Governor  Taxed  ciggs.  aprox.  $2.75  per  pack   the  NON-SMOKERS    SAID  THATS  GOOD  FOR  THEM  !!!!

                          BUT   LAST  WEEK   HE  TAXED  THE   SNOW - SKIERS   AND  BEER  DRINKERS    AND  SODA   DRINKERS  i  SAY  GOOD   FOR  THEM ...SMOKERS  HAD  SOME  SWEET   REVENGE...............SO  WILL  THE    UNEMPLOYED  WHEN  THEY  HIT  THAT   JACKPOTDance

                            Avatar
                            Bethesda, Maryland
                            United States
                            Member #16901
                            June 6, 2005
                            446 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: March 2, 2009, 8:58 pm - IP Logged

                            I don't understand why someone would question this at all.  If you collect unemployment, that means you worked for it, since you need to qualify based on previous employment and wages.  Even if you collect a disability check, it means you earned the money, since it's based on your social security earnings.  We might as well say that people over 65 collecting Social Security or anyone on Medicare shouldn't play either.   Then we need to make a list of all the bad habits people shouldn't be blowing their money on like cigarettes and booze.  What about renting a movie?   If you rent a movie it costs more than buying a few lottery tickets.   Next time you go into Applebee's or Chili's don't forget to stand up and ask how many people there are collecting unemployment or are past due on their credit cards or car payments. 

                            Server:   May I help you?

                            Customer:  We'd like a plate of those baby back ribs, some chili and a couple of beers.

                            Server:  Sure, but first I need to run your credit and check your employment status.

                            Excellent point justxploring.......excellent point....and I couldn't have said it better....you read my mind......;..)