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Lottery Post Founder featured in John Oliver HBO segment

Nov 10, 2014, 9:39 am

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Includes video report

By Todd Northrop

On the final episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight for the year, host John Oliver took a look at state lotteries and argued that they disproportionately take money from the poor by selling hope while failing to deliver on the promise of a better life or improved funding of state programs.

Included in the segment was an examination of how difficult the Mega Millions multi-state lottery game is to win.  The show borrowed a clip from CNN's New Day program when Todd Northrop, Founder of Lottery Post, was interviewed about the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot on Dec. 17, 2013.

(See Mega Millions jackpot soars to $636 million, Lottery Post, Dec. 17, 2013.)

Northrop compared the likelihood of winning the Mega Millions jackpot to being struck by lightning at the same time as being eaten by a shark.

Which also happens to be a great line for an HBO satirical comedy sketch.  (And which the audience seemed to enjoy.)

"That is both an evocative image and an amazing pitch for a movie," Oliver said.

"OK, so there's this guy, he's getting eaten by a shark, see, lightning hits him, he switches minds with the shark, the shark wins the lottery. It's Freaky Friday meets Jaws, I'm calling it SlumShark Gillionaire!"

Oliver went on to make several strong arguments against the lottery in satirical comedic fashion.

He pointed out that in 2013 state-run gambling operations took in over $68 billion in revenue.

"$68 billion. That's more than Americans spent last year on movie tickets, music, porn, the NFL, Major League baseball, and video games combined," Oliver explained. "Which basically mean Americans spent more on the lottery than they spent on America."

What was not mentioned was that the lottery is a completely voluntary form of entertainment, unlike the taxes that he apparently prefers, which are compulsory.

Also not mentioned were the long line of winners who did indeed win the lottery, and are certainly glad they purchased a ticket.  Oliver did mention a few headlines about winners who had tragic stories however.

Despite his clip being utilized in service of an anti-lottery comedy segment, Northrop is glad to be featured.

"Viewers can see I'm having a good time with the odds analogy, and John Oliver's audience also had a good laugh," Northrop said.

"John Oliver is a brilliant writer and satirist, and he raises some important points," Northrop continued.  "Comedy and satire have a way of cutting straight to the heart of an argument, giving citizens and state governments alike something to think about.  If government does make changes in the industry, hopefully it will weigh both sides of the issues fairly."

VIDEO: Watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Lottery (HBO)


Coming Soon: SlumShark Gillionaire

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

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38 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by THRIFTY.
Page 1 of 3
helpmewin's avatar - dandy
United States
Member #106660
February 22, 2011
19967 Posts

Awesome WTG!! TODDParty


    RedStang's avatar - laughing chimp.gif
    United States
    Member #121955
    January 21, 2012
    3169 Posts

    Good report and funny ending. He talked about everything we already knew but you still have to try.

      hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

      United States
      Member #52343
      May 21, 2007
      3394 Posts

        South Carolina
        United States
        Member #155837
        May 31, 2014
        1983 Posts

        Cool to be owner of the best lottery website on Earth..  If lottery making 68 billion.

        todd has to be making a Hundred million himself

          emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

          United States
          Member #14
          November 9, 2001
          31615 Posts


          love to nibble those micey feet.



            Lucky4Life's avatar - batman14

            United States
            Member #85034
            January 7, 2010
            253 Posts

            at what point does Todd come in? Not really interested in watching the whole thing. Never been a big fan of John Oliver.  Can't believe he has his own show.

              Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
              Chief Bottle Washer
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #1
              May 31, 2000
              26448 Posts

              at what point does Todd come in? Not really interested in watching the whole thing. Never been a big fan of John Oliver.  Can't believe he has his own show.

              Skip to 4:00.


              Check the State Lottery Report Card
              What grade did your lottery earn?


              Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
              Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                ThatScaryChick's avatar - giphy11resized
                United States
                Member #56504
                November 21, 2007
                7302 Posts

                Very cool!

                "twitter - youtube - steam - instagram"


                  dallascowboyfan's avatar - chi
                  United States
                  Member #82389
                  November 12, 2009
                  6371 Posts

                  WTG Todd.

                  I Love Pink & Green 1908

                    mikeintexas's avatar - h87TsB4
                    Texas Panhandle
                    United States
                    Member #136837
                    December 20, 2012
                    1660 Posts

                    Thumbs Up

                      Marilyn222's avatar - thumb 350-286546.jpg
                      United States
                      Member #117679
                      October 12, 2011
                      552 Posts


                      White Bounce

                        South Carolina
                        United States
                        Member #18321
                        July 9, 2005
                        1828 Posts

                        We have seen Todd's FACE for the first time ever !!!

                          sully16's avatar - sharan
                          Ms Evil Bruhahahahahaha
                          United States
                          Member #81738
                          October 28, 2009
                          90910 Posts

                          Cheers Awesome Todd , Congrats!

                           Let's go Brandon! ROFL

                            wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

                            United States
                            Member #15143
                            May 10, 2005
                            454 Posts

                            Congrats Todd !! Thumbs Up