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Buying Mega Millions lottery tickets a strictly defensive act

Editorial / OpinionEditorial / Opinion: Buying Mega Millions lottery tickets a strictly defensive act

By Mark Hare
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Imagine how you'd feel if you came to work on a Monday morning and found the office empty.

Not because the company had down-sized to a department of one. But because you were the only one who said no to the office Mega Millions pool. Ten co-workers bought 20 tickets and won - don't be greedy - say, a mere $175 million. They took a lump sum and walked away with $6 million after taxes. And then they walked right out the door into retirement.

At 30, or 40, or 50, they're off the treadmill. They've said adios to the old grindstone. No more coming to the office every day. No more bad coffee from the 10-year-old communal Mr. Coffee. No more mortgage payments. No more worrying about college tuition. No more miles on the '88 Caravan.

They'll be cruising the Caribbean. You'll be cruising I-490, for another 20 years.

They'll be worrying about their investments; you'll be worrying that you'll never be able to retire.

You're still at your desk, alone amid a roomful of darkened cubicles, still staring at the photos of your kids and drinking the bad coffee.

For the rest of your life, you have to live with the fact that for $2 you could have joined your colleagues on Easy Street. But you said, "We'll never win" - words they'll put on your headstone.

Talk about scary thoughts.

This is why I'm always in the Mega Millions pool. I am completely aware that our chances are about one in a quadrillion. I do not expect to win. Obviously.

I hate state-sponsored games of chance as a matter of principle. The state should not promote gambling, knowing that some people who can barely afford it, will spend the kids' lunch money on the longest of long shots. Not to mention that some of those buyers are addicted to gambling.

I do not buy into the pool because I like to gamble. It is a purely defensive move. If my co-workers win, I don't want to be left behind. I buy just in case.

You no doubt saw the eight happy Nebraska meatpackers who shared the winning $365 million Powerball jackpot last month. Each of them kicked in $5; they bought 40 tickets, including the winner. After taxes, each of them received $15.5 million.

None of them had any real plans for the money, although People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked them to spend some of their fortunes providing shelter for pigs rescued from the slaughterhouse. The winners were supposed to feel guilty about their jobs.

One of the winners said he'll quit his job, get a business degree and buy some stuff for his wife and baby daughter. Another, a native of Vietnam, said he'd send some money back home.

"Everybody has dreams," said Mike Terpstra, a plant supervisor. "Buy an island. Buy an airplane. In reality, I'm not a fan of flying and don't really like water."

Nobody expects to win. So nobody really knows what they'd do with more money than they ever imagined.

Who knows how much lottery income derives directly from defensive office buy-ins?

Asked if employees who did not chip in might be resentful, Alain Maboussou, 26, said, "I don't think they have a reason to be jealous because when it's pool day, we ask people to put in five bucks, so if you wasn't there or didn't put in the five bucks, sorry."

Right. I'm sure there'd be no hard feelings.

If you believe that, go ahead and sit it out. Me? I'm not taking any chances.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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14 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #23806
October 16, 2005
188 Posts
Posted: March 22, 2006, 12:04 pm - IP Logged

hahahah great article

    United States
    Member #16612
    June 2, 2005
    3493 Posts
    Posted: March 22, 2006, 1:19 pm - IP Logged

    That's a great article. If I win a jackpot and take cash value, try to win enough money in a jackpot to retire.

      Coastal Georgia
      United States
      Member #2653
      October 30, 2003
      1866 Posts
      Posted: March 22, 2006, 2:58 pm - IP Logged

      Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.







        Bethesda, Maryland
        United States
        Member #16901
        June 6, 2005
        446 Posts
        Posted: March 22, 2006, 5:00 pm - IP Logged

        HAPPY WEDNESDAY EVERYONE........3/22

        Very good 'eye opening article'.....I'm proud to say, I would never be so blind, as to turn down the opportunity of getting in on the 'pool'.....I would never say no to that. No matter how much was in the Prize Kitty. There's no way, I'm coming back to the Office, while everyone else is jumping into the Limo 'low-flying' to the Main Lottery HQ..to lay claim to all that $$$$$$$$$$$$.......

        When the Governor of Maryland, presents the ckecks...My Name will proudly be on one of them.Hurray!

          justxploring's avatar - villiarna
          Wandering Aimlessly
          United States
          Member #25360
          November 5, 2005
          4461 Posts
          Posted: March 22, 2006, 6:21 pm - IP Logged

          Good article. I agree with libra. I would welcome the opportunity of joining a pool. I've never been able to form one where I've worked. The people I know never take the lottery seriously and it only works if everyone adheres to the rules and understands them. Although this subject has been discussed before, if I joined a pool I would not want to give up my regular numbers and would hope there'd be a clause in the group agreement that individual ticket purchases would be completely separate. The one rule I would insist on is that you're either in or you're out. No "maybe not this week" players. Like if there are 10 in the group, the first of the month you each pitch in $20 which makes the pool $200 for 8 draws. It gets to be too time-consuming and chaotic when people are running around every Wed trying to collect money.  Hmm..maybe that's why nobody every formed a pool with me. I'm difficult, but I admit I'm a stickler when it comes to rules.

            LottoGroups's avatar - peace

            Member #35567
            March 19, 2006
            40 Posts
            Posted: March 22, 2006, 9:29 pm - IP Logged

            Interesting article.

            I have a couple of long terms members in one of my lottery groups that claim they can never quit. They are sure that the day after they quit we will win. They have been a member for over 10 years.

            Lotto Groups - the best way to win

              BaristaExpress's avatar - BaristaExpressMX zpsfb0d8b5d.png
              Magnolia, Delaware
              United States
              Member #18795
              July 20, 2005
              789 Posts
              Posted: March 22, 2006, 10:14 pm - IP Logged

              Yes, a very good article, yes in deed! I'd still say not me this time or anytime, No pools for me!

              Keep dreaming the impossible dream, it just may come true! Thumbs Up

                RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                United States
                Member #9
                March 24, 2001
                20017 Posts
                Posted: March 22, 2006, 10:24 pm - IP Logged

                The fact is that there will be lots of people playing in lottery groups or pools until the day they die or the game is discontinued and will never win big.  Even when you play in a group, the odds don't change enough to make it worth sharing your one lucky day with a bunch of other people unless they are friends or family.(unless you figure you are actually sharing some else lucky day)  As I see it, playing in a group or pool allows someone else to spend a lot of money on lottery tickets at your expense.  Pool managers are usually too lazy to come up with any strategy for winning other than buying lots of tickets which they usually are not willing to do with their own money.

                 * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                             Evil Looking       

                  Roslindale, MA
                  United States
                  Member #5377
                  July 1, 2004
                  136 Posts
                  Posted: March 23, 2006, 6:54 am - IP Logged

                  IMO it's not the resentment that makes the "defense buying" - it's the fear of being stuck with all the winners' work ("what do you mean I have to do the work of 11 people - there's only 24 hours in each day...") if you leave yourself out.


                    United States
                    Member #12495
                    March 15, 2005
                    76 Posts
                    Posted: March 23, 2006, 11:24 am - IP Logged

                    Well, if 10m and 300m makes no difference to you in term of retirement, than play in a pool would be a good idea.

                    Buy $30 ticket by youself, you might win 300m and tickets cost you $1 each.

                    Spend $1 in a 30 people pool, you get the same odd to win 10m, but now tickets cost you 3c each.


                      United States
                      Member #7853
                      October 15, 2004
                      11350 Posts
                      Posted: March 23, 2006, 6:16 pm - IP Logged

                      the only pool i'm going to join is the one with all the females lounging in it outside.......


                        United States
                        Member #10720
                        January 23, 2005
                        933 Posts
                        Posted: March 25, 2006, 9:23 pm - IP Logged

                        The pools are usually set up when the jackpot is near or over 100MM. I play my own tickets but set aside a few $ for the pool, if there is one. I don't want to hear the next morning that it was won by a group of people that I could have been part of. My extra few $ may even have added in the one extra ticket that had the winning numbers and positively changed the lives of several people.

                          Bethesda, Maryland
                          United States
                          Member #16901
                          June 6, 2005
                          446 Posts
                          Posted: March 26, 2006, 4:38 pm - IP Logged

                          the only pool i'm going to join is the one with all the females lounging in it outside.......

                          HAPPY SUNDAY ...."LOTTO"

                          YOU ARE SOOOOO BADDDD....YOU REALLY NEED TO WIN.....lololololololololol.....I've been on this thread before, and I don't know how I missed your answer......lolololololol.....I got you this time around..........lolololol.....

                            United States
                            Member #379
                            June 5, 2002
                            11296 Posts
                            Posted: March 31, 2006, 1:32 pm - IP Logged

                            the only pool i'm going to join is the one with all the females lounging in it outside.......

                            LOL...and the warmer weather is coming.