Not In Your Favor

Playing the lottery is not a smart financial decision.

Brandon Eslamian

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

A lot of mathematicians regard the lottery as a “tax for the (less intelligent) and poor.” While there’s no actual way to prove this claim, there’s a considerably decisive conclusion–the odds of winning the lottery are so astronomically low that, well, let’s just look at the numbers. 

The chances of you winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338. To put that in perspective, the chances of you getting struck by lightning is 1 in 700,000 according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). So, statistically you have a higher chance getting struck by lightning in the next 24 hours (1 in 255,500,000) than winning the powerball jackpot.

If you were to purchase $1,000,000 in Powerball lottery tickets, you would still not even have a sixth of a percent chance of winning. Even if you were to buy $100 in lottery tickets every single day of the year for 80 years straight, you’d only have half of a percent chance of winning.

By the time you were able to purchase enough lottery tickets to have at least a 50 percent chance in winning, you would end up losing money, especially since higher jackpot values equal more people buying tickets, leading to a higher chance in having the jackpot split between multiple people.

So why are millions of lottery tickets bought each year? Perhaps the false hope has a monetary value–to some, at least.

Sophomore Michael Huff said, “I just can’t justify why you’d pay that much money over your lifetime, and win absolutely nothing. I can see why they call it a tax on the (less intelligent).” 

When it comes to purchasing their tickets, some people use the same numbers every time, some people change their numbers every time and some people let a computer choose for them. Regardless of which method you choose, you’re still going to have the ripe low chance of 1 in 292 million.

A study in 2011 in the Journal of Gambling Studies showed that those residing in the lowest income bracket had the highest proportion of those participating in lotteries. The study also found that roughly 65 percent more men participate in the lottery than women do.

So, to those the age of 18 and up, take heed when you’re gambling–especially with lottery tickets. If you reside in the lowest income bracket, try to make smart decisions because the lottery is a tax. A $70 billion per year tax. More money is siphoned into lottery tickets than books, video games, sports games and movie tickets combined in America.

Buying a lottery ticket is essentially wasting money. You’re throwing your hard-earned money into a pool, where at some point, someone other than you–most likely the government–will get it. You’d sooner get struck by lightning, get a heart attack or stroke or even go blind before you’d win the jackpot. So, is the lottery a tax for the less intelligent and poor? That’s for your wallet to decide.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email