Author Topic: In defense of lottery tickets  (Read 5299 times)

stratozyck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
In defense of lottery tickets
« on: March 15, 2017, 09:18:27 AM »
I fully realize everyone will laugh and call me stupid for this. But something happened this past month that made me understand why spending (a few) dollars a month on the lottery isn't "throwing your money away." Yes, I know you aren't going to win. Yes, spending anything more than a few dollars a month is stupid. But let me explain.

FYI, I have max 401k contrib (and do 1/3rd roth because why not I suppose...) and am putting away money for a car that I know at some point I will need. My current one is an old piece of crap that everything except the vital parts have or are failing. I plan on driving it until it dies. We have two houses (one that is rented out) and more or less my paycheck is set up so that aside from our mortgage, everything else is spending. The savings is taken out automatically.

So, I live in a cheaper area far away from a major metro. I have dealt with the commute by switching to an early in early out schedule and am often at my desk prior to 7 (6:30am is not uncommon if I am busy). I am overjoyed when my total commute time each day is under 2 and a half hours. My coworkers typically spend 4 hours a day commuting. Its a mess and houses in the city are so out of our price range that I initially thought it was a misprint when we went looking.

Still, the commute can unravel. I drive a few miles to a bus station that takes me to a train that then goes to the office. Some random days everything goes to crap and even though I leave early the commute can sometimes take 2 hours one way if there is an incident. That usually means my co workers will be in at 10:30.

My point is, my life is more or less on auto pilot. I am working my way up a lucrative career and even though I am at the bottom of it I am doing fine. It was one Wednesday weeks ago when everything went to crap - a traffic light broke near our house, there was an accident on the tiny stretch of highway that I do have to drive, and then there was yet another accident that slowed the bus. Then someone did the ungodly sin of blocking the escalator by putting their bags on the left side of it and I just missed the train.

When I got downtown I'm going up the escalator hating life temporarily. I saw the powerball and I had a few dollars and in a blur of trying to do something to relieve the stress building up (already at 7:30am) I bought a ticket.

What it did for me is kindof make me laugh at myself. I am a statistics person and I think I would lose my degree if they knew this. But that was it - for the rest of the day I imagined life being different. I went to bed (early because I get up early) with the thought in my head of "hey maybe tomorrow it all changes and I can move to Australia" and it made me sleep easier.

That line of thinking helped me realize some things I wanted to do in life that I was avoiding. It was a silly thing that made me laugh at myself and imagine a better life instead of the humdrum.

But yeah, I am still pro banning the lottery. It was depressing as heck seeing the poor people in front of me buying like $40 worth. I used pocket change...

Go ahead - laugh at me with me hah.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1210
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 09:26:16 AM »
It certainly won't bankrupt you or delay FIRE and by the strike of some divine being it might change your life and everyones around you.

$2 seems like a small price to pay for that.

That being said, we still don't play. (Except, I think one drunken purchase when the thing hit like 1.5B)

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk


SweetLife

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
  • Location: Ontario
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 09:31:07 AM »
Not going to lie ... I buy one now and then ... it is a nice little dream ... I love to imagine what my winnings would do and how much less I would need to work (from 8 years down to none) lol... and those dream trips that I can imagine taking with no thought to how much they would cost lol... (Australia for a month/bora bora/Easter island/Madagascar/Pee Pee island)
Typos will happen, corrections appreciated, or just ignore ;)

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5759
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 09:43:41 AM »
As long as you can afford it and see lottery as "an entertainment expense"... I see no real issues with it.

I buy approximately 1-2 a year for $1 each. 

On the other hand, my sister in law spends about $50 a week on scratch offs and is absolutely convinced she's coming out ahead.  She's college educated and smart.  There is no convincing her she is wrong.  I've gently suggested she keep a spreadsheet of expenses vs winnings for a few months to see how she is doing, but she won't.  I know they engineer these things like slot machines... to pay out JUST ENOUGH to make you feel like you want to try again.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

patchyfacialhair

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • Journal
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 09:53:44 AM »
I've purchased exactly 3 tickets in the last decade. Only when the jackpot gets stupid high. Even then, I've skipped out on high jackpots simply because there was a line at the gas station to buy them.

It's fun to fantasize, and $6 over a decade has a negligible effect on retirement planning. You do you OP. No need to apologize to the negative nancies about a one-off.

On a side note: I'm up approx. $40 in lifetime gambling winnings/losses. An $80 win in Vegas minus some losses to gambling and the aforementioned lottery tickets, and it's hard to justify continuing to ever gamble again. Statistically I'm already way ahead of the game. But, I'll probably throw a buck or two in when it's convenient.

BTDretire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1416
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2017, 09:54:27 AM »
I don't play the lottery, but when the pay off get's huge, sometimes I think since I haven't spent anything on
lottery tickets, I should splurge and buy $100. But, I never have.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5759
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2017, 10:15:12 AM »
On a side note: I'm up approx. $40 in lifetime gambling winnings/losses. An $80 win in Vegas minus some losses to gambling and the aforementioned lottery tickets, and it's hard to justify continuing to ever gamble again. Statistically I'm already way ahead of the game. But, I'll probably throw a buck or two in when it's convenient.

FWIW:  Your odds of winning in Vegas are (usually) enormous as compared to state run lotteries.  Gambling regulations there maintain much higher payout percentages than most states. 
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

patchyfacialhair

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • Journal
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2017, 10:21:17 AM »
So you're saying that when I'm there next month for work, I should spend my evenings at the slots? Done! Thanks, Spork! lol

Gimesalot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 565
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2017, 10:25:28 AM »
I do this a few times a year.  I buy a powerball ticket the day after the drawing, so that I get the longest amount of "dream time."  It's two dollars and I spend hours, mostly while at work, dreaming of everything I could do if I won.  I say I get about 6 to 10 hours of happy thoughts.

panda

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 400
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2017, 10:43:02 AM »
I buy tickets in the office pools when the big jackpots show up. That's mostly insurance though - nobody wants to be the only person to show up at the office if the pool actually wins.

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • Location: NJ
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2017, 10:50:50 AM »
We buy a $2 ticket every week. I know the chances of winning are astronomically small, but it's still better than the zero chance you have when you don't buy a ticket.

I could have fun with a few hundred million :) I even have my new place picked out - http://sierrastarlaketahoe.com/

Gondolin

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Location: Northern VA
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2017, 11:20:00 AM »
No laughter here! For most of the people on the forum, minor 'wasteful' expenses are trivial.

You recognized the real problem though when you said,
Quote
It was depressing as heck seeing the poor people in front of me buying like $40 worth. I used pocket change...
"There cannot be two skies"

VoteCthulu

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 264
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2017, 12:02:24 PM »
The lottery is my favorite tax, I wish all taxes could be raised voluntarily!

The fact that it essentially taxes ignorance is even better, if only we could come up more ways to tax the lack of understanding in other areas besides basic statistics... other than the tax we all currently pay for our collective political ignorance.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 12:26:48 PM by VoteCthulu »

stratozyck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2017, 12:10:30 PM »
Oh man this turned out awesome!

I posted this because a while back I read an article by a respected economist that defended some (like what I am doing) lottery purchases because exactly what I was saying! On that day I bought it, I was stressed out and it was early so I couldn't go get a drink. Well, I could have... but I digress.

My brother gambles a lot on sports betting and over his lifetime is up like 30k or so. He says he has a method or something and wants me to get into it but I'd never do that.

This is something odd - I am a logical person and doing something (small) that was highly illogical felt liberating.

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • Location: NJ
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2017, 12:25:07 PM »
I posted this somewhere before, but my wife's workplace had a patient who was spending up to $700 a day on scratch cards.

He owns a lunch truck, and said he makes anywhere from $400 to $800 a day. He keeps $100 for expenses, and spends the rest on lottery tickets. His wife is ready to leave, the collection agencies are calling, but he still thinks he's going to have that big windfall any day now.

FireHiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 420
  • Location: So Cal
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2017, 12:26:28 PM »
We buy one every once in a rare while (not even as high a rate as one per year), for the "what if" game. Yes, logically, it isn't going to happen. But, it has provided us with a lot of fun playing "what if". Much more enjoyment out of a couple of bucks than, say, a movie, or a soda out to eat (neither of which we do anyway though). We do always participate in the work lottery pool; I can think of 3 in the 15 years I've been with the company, when it gets really outrageously high, because I'm not going to be the one person left in the building. :) But, we definitely view it as a form of entertainment, and an opportunity to evaluate our priorities. What things should we be working towards anyway that we could make realistic instead of viewing as a dream or someday, that sort of thing.

NoStacheOhio

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1574
  • Location: Cleveland
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2017, 12:28:04 PM »
I typically buy one ticket a year for my birthday, and have done since I turned 18. It's just one of those things. Rarely, I'll go in on a pool, but I can only think of like three times in my life.
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/digging-out-of-a-hole/

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2906
  • Age: 34
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2017, 12:40:03 PM »
I started doing this $2 ticket once in a while thing for similar reasons.  ER is pretty much a forgone conclusion.  Playing the lottery, while very unlikely is a non-zero chance at ER tomorrow.

slowsynapse

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Age: 45
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2017, 01:15:34 PM »
I buy one twice a year just in case my destiny is to win the lottery.  I do see many people who actually buy a lot of tickets which is kind of sad.  I also never buy into a pool because I don't want to share :)

Oh man this turned out awesome!


My brother gambles a lot on sports betting and over his lifetime is up like 30k or so. He says he has a method or something and wants me to get into it but I'd never do that.



Also, I never win at sports gambling.  I am down about $200 for my lifetime and it would be more but I won't bet.  Oddly enough, I am the only person I know that is not up on sports gambling.  Every other person I have met where the subject comes up has never lost money doing it.

Kiwi Fuzz

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
  • Location: Massachusetts
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2017, 01:17:10 PM »
I think there's no harm in it as long as you don't have an gambler's fallacy problem, but rather view it was purchasing the fantasy, since the odds are so insurmountable.

Personally, I have no interest in the fantasy. I'd rather have the $1 and put it in my savings account. I'm boring, I know. Maybe it has to do with my mother and sister constantly joking that "Well, when I win the lottery...[insert generous promise here]!"

I guess I'd rather scrape pennies together than dream of fistfuls of cash.

FIRE Artist

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 293
  • Location: YEG
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2017, 02:03:19 PM »
I play for the fun of it when the jackpot here gets above 60MM - once that happens they start adding additional 1MM draws every week, so it can often get up to 20+ additional 1MM draws - so it is like getting 20+ tickets for the price of one (how's that for frugality?).  Completely silly, but a cheap way to dream about retiring tomorrow instead of in 5 years and I only do it a few times a year. 

Nangirl17

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2017, 02:17:39 PM »
I have a pretty serious sugar addiction so when I'm in line at the grocery store feeling a really big craving for a chocolate bar or MandMs then sometimes I will buy a lottery ticket instead - both are totally wasteful items but lottery tickets don't make me fat, and there is a one in a billion chance that I could win!

Chris22

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
  • Location: Chicago NW Suburbs
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2017, 02:31:25 PM »
I have a pretty serious sugar addiction so when I'm in line at the grocery store feeling a really big craving for a chocolate bar or MandMs then sometimes I will buy a lottery ticket instead - both are totally wasteful items but lottery tickets don't make me fat, and there is a one in a billion chance that I could win!

That's funny, I used to drink soda and would joke that sometimes when I got gas, I'd buy a soda and a Powerball ticket, and the Powerball ticket was by far the healthier splurge.  Now I've basically given up soda, so I rarely buy a ticket.  But agree, a $2 ticket every once in a while isn't going to hurt anyone.  And in some places, the lotto helps fund education, so it really might be helping!
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

mcneally

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2017, 09:36:47 PM »
The lottery is my favorite tax, I wish all taxes could be raised voluntarily!

The fact that it essentially taxes ignorance is even better, if only we could come up more ways to tax the lack of understanding in other areas besides basic statistics... other than the tax we all currently pay for our collective political ignorance.

In the larger sense of the lottery providing revenue, it is primarily a tax on the (economically) poor, desperate and yes, less educated people. I don't think bilking them of what little they have is anything worth promoting.

In OP's circumstance though, some behavioral economists think it is rational for people to purchase the occasional  mega jackpot ticket, obviously not because of the expected value, but because the enjoyment you derive from fantasizing about what you would do is worth more than the $2 or whatever you spent.



beastykato

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
  • Location: Pennsylvania
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2017, 12:19:51 AM »
I definitely will not criticize you for wanting to play.  Every now and then I'll play a little maybe $5-20 a month if I've got the itch.  Recently though, I can't even recall the last time I bought a ticket.  It has to have been over a year or more. 

My direct family member was the recipient of $100,000 on a $20 scratch-off ticket.  So, I've seen it happen and I have actually won quite a bit as well (no where near 100k).  I definitely don't advocate it, it's just something to do for fun like a once or twice a year trip to the casino for me.  And I always look at the odds before I buy a ticket.

There is darkness to this story though.  Other more distant family members saw this happen as well.  I've watched them pour countless amounts of money in to the point they have actually harmed their finances since that winning ticket.  I guess they thought they would be next. 

MoonLiteNite

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2017, 04:48:10 AM »
I 99% agree.
it can be a great stress relief, can be fun, and if you want to spend your money on it, go for it.

100% disagree on stopping two people from trading funds for a service/product. Even if one of those people is government.

Linda_Norway

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1613
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2017, 04:59:03 AM »
Have you considered moving to a rental place close to your house, to reduce your daily commuting stress?

And, yes it is fine with me that you de-stress yourself with a lottery ticket. This was probably a cheap solution. I sometimes dream of winning the lottery, but unfortunately I never will, because I never buy lottery tickets...
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 07:24:58 AM by Linda_Norway »

By the River

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2017, 07:10:43 AM »
At my office, we have a group of 40 people in a lottery pool, $1/week.   The lady who runs it collects $10 every ten weeks rather than worrying about collecting weekly.  For my budgeting purposes, I show that as insurance as I don't want to be the only one in the office who has to work on the morning after an impossible win. 

We did match 4 white balls and the red on one draw last year.  $50,000 (less 30% federal and state taxes) divided by 38 people led to a check of $921 each. I classified this as insurance payout in the budget. 

(2 people joined the pool after we won $50,000 hoping that lightning will strike twice). 

FIT_Goat

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 105
  • Location: Florida
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2017, 07:31:48 AM »
I just can't bring myself to buy a lotto ticket unless the math says it's an okay bet.  This means that I never buy the scratchers (they return like $0.30 to the dollar).  I never do the pick 3 or pick 4 (which return $0.50 to the dollar).  I will consider buying tickets if the large lottos are at the right price.  That's $491 million for powerball, as an example.  With the $491 million jackpot, it's about an even money bet, ignoring taxes and the odds of a split.

Yeah, I know that winning $500 million isn't going to make my life that much better than winning only $230 million, but it's just a math thing.  I have bought $10 in tickets when the powerball was over $600 million.  I would probably do it again, although it rarely happens and the lines at the store are almost intolerable when it's that high.

I don't mind taking a slightly losing bet, especially if it means I will have a chance to take a winning bet later, but most of the time the cost of the lotto is just too steep.

golden1

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1410
  • Location: MA
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2017, 07:42:47 AM »
I buy them once in awhile, but only when the office pool goes around, because I don't want to be the one person who didn't buy a ticket when the company shuts down.  :P  I see buying a lottery ticket as buying access to daydreams about what you would do if you won.  When I buy them, I get some enjoyment out of creating plans for what would go down, which generally would just mean quitting my job now, travelling more, and designing a custom home that suits my particular lifestyle. 

fattest_foot

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2017, 08:14:07 AM »
Oddly, in my "win the Powerball" fantasies, I generally hope to win the $1,000,000 prize as opposed to the jackpot. After taxes, it comes to about $665,000 (taking into account our W-2 income). That's enough to be FI immediately, and RE if we really wanted to. But it comes without the stress of winning a massive jackpot and worrying about how people are going to come knocking on your door with a hand out.

That's not to say the jackpot wouldn't be awesome; depending on how much it is, we'd be able to give away a significant amount to help make our families' lives more comfortable. But the goal for me is FIRE, and the smaller prize works just as well.

But then this is all hypothetical, because I don't even carry cash 95% of the time, so I couldn't buy a ticket if I wanted to.

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 797
  • Location: Texas
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2017, 08:26:52 AM »
Oddly, in my "win the Powerball" fantasies, I generally hope to win the $1,000,000 prize as opposed to the jackpot. After taxes, it comes to about $665,000 (taking into account our W-2 income). That's enough to be FI immediately, and RE if we really wanted to. But it comes without the stress of winning a massive jackpot and worrying about how people are going to come knocking on your door with a hand out.

That's not to say the jackpot wouldn't be awesome; depending on how much it is, we'd be able to give away a significant amount to help make our families' lives more comfortable. But the goal for me is FIRE, and the smaller prize works just as well.

But then this is all hypothetical, because I don't even carry cash 95% of the time, so I couldn't buy a ticket if I wanted to.

Although your odds of success would still be abysmal they would actually be much better while the jackpot is still only 1 Million as opposed to when it raises much higher due to more people buying tickets and buying more tickets at that once the award gets much higher.

Chris22

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
  • Location: Chicago NW Suburbs
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2017, 08:34:18 AM »
Oddly, in my "win the Powerball" fantasies, I generally hope to win the $1,000,000 prize as opposed to the jackpot. After taxes, it comes to about $665,000 (taking into account our W-2 income). That's enough to be FI immediately, and RE if we really wanted to. But it comes without the stress of winning a massive jackpot and worrying about how people are going to come knocking on your door with a hand out.

That's not to say the jackpot wouldn't be awesome; depending on how much it is, we'd be able to give away a significant amount to help make our families' lives more comfortable. But the goal for me is FIRE, and the smaller prize works just as well.

But then this is all hypothetical, because I don't even carry cash 95% of the time, so I couldn't buy a ticket if I wanted to.

Although your odds of success would still be abysmal they would actually be much better while the jackpot is still only 1 Million as opposed to when it raises much higher due to more people buying tickets and buying more tickets at that once the award gets much higher.

Nope.  Your odds of winning are the same either way, you just have a higher chance of SPLITTING the jackpot the more people buy tickets.  They don't increase the number of balls (numbers) when more people play.
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

talltexan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 982
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2017, 08:34:45 AM »
The NCAA men's basketball tournament switches into high-gear today. I am spending $10 entering a work office pool. Trying to decide whether it's worth a second entry at $10 more.

I think this is a much better investment than the lottery.

merlin7676

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2017, 08:41:17 AM »
We buy a few scratchers and occasionally a ticket every now and then. A few dollars here and there won't mess up our retirement and we consider it more a entertainment expense.

I'm always amazed when I hear people say 'oh I only buy one when the pot is big" since your odds of winning are the same regardless of the size of the pot.  And honestly don't they start at 10 or 20 million anyway?  I mean I'd be fine with 2 million. I don't know that I'd ever want or need the hassle of trying to figure out what to do with 300 million LOL
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 08:45:04 AM by merlin7676 »

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5759
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2017, 08:45:54 AM »
Oddly, in my "win the Powerball" fantasies, I generally hope to win the $1,000,000 prize as opposed to the jackpot. After taxes, it comes to about $665,000 (taking into account our W-2 income). That's enough to be FI immediately, and RE if we really wanted to. But it comes without the stress of winning a massive jackpot and worrying about how people are going to come knocking on your door with a hand out.

That's not to say the jackpot wouldn't be awesome; depending on how much it is, we'd be able to give away a significant amount to help make our families' lives more comfortable. But the goal for me is FIRE, and the smaller prize works just as well.

But then this is all hypothetical, because I don't even carry cash 95% of the time, so I couldn't buy a ticket if I wanted to.

Although your odds of success would still be abysmal they would actually be much better while the jackpot is still only 1 Million as opposed to when it raises much higher due to more people buying tickets and buying more tickets at that once the award gets much higher.

Nope.  Your odds of winning are the same either way, you just have a higher chance of SPLITTING the jackpot the more people buy tickets.  They don't increase the number of balls (numbers) when more people play.

If you want to increase your odds (and they'll still suck) buy multiple, overlapping tickets.  For example, if you need to pick 6:
* 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
* 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
* 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
etcetera

This means if prizes are handed out for matching 3, 4, 5.... you'll multiple matches of 3, 4, 5.  You are still "just as likely" to win the big pot and much more likely to win multiple small pots.

This is also counter intuitive to everyone that plays.  They'll want 10 numbers that are all vastly different instead of 10 numbers that overlap.
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 797
  • Location: Texas
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2017, 09:30:34 AM »
Oddly, in my "win the Powerball" fantasies, I generally hope to win the $1,000,000 prize as opposed to the jackpot. After taxes, it comes to about $665,000 (taking into account our W-2 income). That's enough to be FI immediately, and RE if we really wanted to. But it comes without the stress of winning a massive jackpot and worrying about how people are going to come knocking on your door with a hand out.

That's not to say the jackpot wouldn't be awesome; depending on how much it is, we'd be able to give away a significant amount to help make our families' lives more comfortable. But the goal for me is FIRE, and the smaller prize works just as well.

But then this is all hypothetical, because I don't even carry cash 95% of the time, so I couldn't buy a ticket if I wanted to.

Although your odds of success would still be abysmal they would actually be much better while the jackpot is still only 1 Million as opposed to when it raises much higher due to more people buying tickets and buying more tickets at that once the award gets much higher.

Nope.  Your odds of winning are the same either way, you just have a higher chance of SPLITTING the jackpot the more people buy tickets.  They don't increase the number of balls (numbers) when more people play.

Depends on the lottery, didn't know there were ones that did split the pot.

MoMan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Location: Houston
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2017, 09:58:25 AM »
I totally support a $1 or $2 escape-from-reality fantasy purchase. Just remember that if God [or Karma, or your deity of choice, or The Force] wants you to win, you only need one ticket!

I've thought about how my life might change if I won a big jackpot, and I'm not sure I'd want that: Suddenly a million needy people/organizations/family members would be tracking me down and begging me for a piece of the pie, laying on a massive guilt trip. Probably the first thing I'd do is smash my cell phone, buy an RV and disappear for a few months. (Spoken like a true introvert!!)
"He is richest who is contented, for content is the wealth of nature."

ducky19

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2017, 10:08:37 AM »
I've been finding scratch-offs in DW's van from time to time, which sets me on a slow burn... I don't mention it because I believe in a peaceful marriage, but if I start seeing more of them I definitely will. I see nothing wrong with the occasional buy when the Powerball or Mega is insanely high, but regular purchases of scratch-offs is a no-no in my book. That said, we do go to the riverboat casino a couple of times a year, each taking $100. That I see as an entertainment expense as it's a night out for us, and it's rare for both of us to lose our entire $100.

Raenia

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 378
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2017, 10:32:21 AM »
I had a friend who liked to buy a ticket right before a long road trip, so they could spend the trip fantasizing about what they'd do with it.  It was maybe a $2-3 per year, certainly not enough to be a drain on their finances, and they were well aware of the odds, it was just for the fun.

My mom likes to buy scratch-offs for my sister and I for Christmas, cause she likes to watch us scratch them.  Oddly, my sister has incredible luck with scratch offs, and has actually come out ahead by a few bucks, all told.

iowajes

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5066
  • Location: United States
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2017, 10:55:09 AM »
A $2 million ticket was sold at the gas station I go to regularly. I'm bummed I missed out.
They sold a $1 million about 6 months ago. Clearly they are lucky and I should play more often.  /um, no

PoutineLover

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2017, 12:19:38 PM »
I never buy lottery tickets cause I don't think they are worth it, but a few tickets here and there for a couple dollars isn't really a big deal. I just don't see the fun of it. I'm not a big gambler though, I'll go to the casino with 40 bucks and play roulette, usually I come out even or ahead and buy a few drinks. I see it as an entertainment expense and not a real shot at winning a jackpot. It is sad to see people wasting too much of their limited money on slots and scratch tickets hoping that they will make it big..

Davids

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 893
  • Location: Somewhere in the USA.
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2017, 12:29:46 PM »
When Powerball or megamillions goes to say over $300M I may buy a ticket. I figure the dollar or two cost of the ticket is worth the price to dream what I would do if I won.

Slee_stack

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2017, 08:06:25 PM »
Bought a few in my lifetime.

You don't need to buy one to have fun fantasizing about winning though. 

Instead, pretend that you'll find the winning ticket accidentally discarded on the ground.

Its about the same odds when you consider the near impossibility of winning anyway, but you don't have to pay anything to 'play'.

Hargrove

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2017, 08:39:32 PM »
If anything, the statistic-minded hysteria about how horrible it is to purchase a ticket is what's silly.

Anything you spend $1 on is trivial and unlikely to lead to happiness. If you do it twice, it's not like saving those TWO dollars would have bought you happiness. If a pattern emerges where you spend $10, $20, $30 a month etc. on tickets, you're blowing a real potential investment. Even buying a few dollars a month could matter if you saved it for some specific purpose.

But if blowing just that $1 every time you can't remember the last time you did it buys you 4 daydreams about a better life, 15 minutes of elevated mood, one "what if you won?" session with a coworker, and a several-page forum thread, you could do worse with a dollar.

mastrr

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2017, 08:59:03 PM »
If you're okay being average, play the lottery

Chris22

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
  • Location: Chicago NW Suburbs
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2017, 07:45:22 AM »
If anything, the statistic-minded hysteria about how horrible it is to purchase a ticket is what's silly.

Yup.  Anytime the word "lottery" is mentioned on the internet, 100 people have to chime in with "well I don't play and have never bought a ticket and it's a tax on people bad with math and blah blah blah."  The self-righteousness is tiresome.  No one cares that you don't play.  And there's a difference between "spend maybe $10 a year on tickets" and "spend $50/wk on tickets".

The other day I bought a $1 bag of M&Ms out of the vending machine at work because I had a late meeting and I was hungry.  Most people can understand the difference between that and eating a Costco-sized sack every week.  But they have a hard time making that distinction with lotto tickets for some reason.

BTW, Powerball is $2/ticket
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 07:47:19 AM by Chris22 »
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

Slee_stack

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2017, 09:08:16 AM »
If anything, the statistic-minded hysteria about how horrible it is to purchase a ticket is what's silly.

Yup.  Anytime the word "lottery" is mentioned on the internet, 100 people have to chime in with "well I don't play and have never bought a ticket and it's a tax on people bad with math and blah blah blah."  The self-righteousness is tiresome.  No one cares that you don't play.  And there's a difference between "spend maybe $10 a year on tickets" and "spend $50/wk on tickets".

The other day I bought a $1 bag of M&Ms out of the vending machine at work because I had a late meeting and I was hungry.  Most people can understand the difference between that and eating a Costco-sized sack every week.  But they have a hard time making that distinction with lotto tickets for some reason.

BTW, Powerball is $2/ticket
Voluntarily spending extra at a vending machine is buying you convenience.  That doesn't really equate to spending money on something which (for practical purposes) provides absolutely nothing.

The defense is that it buys 'Entertainment', and I countered that, statistically, you don't have to actually buy the ticket to share in the entertainment.

If folks seriously can't think of anything better that $1 - $2 might buy for them, then have at it.  I'd probably argue they just really haven't thought about it though.

At a convenience store, that $1-$2 could buy you a coffee or apple or something else tangible.  It also could just end up staying in your wallet where it might be put in a Park donation tube, turned into quarters for a spur of the moment video game, used to tip someone you might not have been able to otherwise, or any other creative purpose (extra girl scout cookie purchase?)

As a person who carries a very limited quantity of cash, perhaps I may be more sensitive to 'cash-only' scenario effects.  The main thing I'm suggesting is an occasional sanity check to make sure lottery tickets are really providing adequate happiness returns for your discretionary dollars.


« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 09:14:00 AM by Slee_stack »

Hargrove

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2017, 04:37:46 PM »
As a person who carries a very limited quantity of cash, perhaps I may be more sensitive to 'cash-only' scenario effects.  The main thing I'm suggesting is an occasional sanity check to make sure lottery tickets are really providing adequate happiness returns for your discretionary dollars.

You offered a videogame (arcade game). Why do you need to play it? Stand near the machine and watch while someone else plays it!

It's a little different if you are involved yourself...

But I think we otherwise agree. Nobody here would be likely to advocate spending double digits on lottery tickets in a year. If buying 2 or 3 is your only stupid thing and all your other finances are in order, I just don't see the need for hysteria about it. No one who spent $3 on something in a year was charging after a bad investment.

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 797
  • Location: Texas
Re: In defense of lottery tickets
« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2017, 04:39:59 PM »
As a person who carries a very limited quantity of cash, perhaps I may be more sensitive to 'cash-only' scenario effects.  The main thing I'm suggesting is an occasional sanity check to make sure lottery tickets are really providing adequate happiness returns for your discretionary dollars.

You offered a videogame (arcade game). Why do you need to play it? Stand near the machine and watch while someone else plays it!

It's a little different if you are involved yourself...

But I think we otherwise agree. Nobody here would be likely to advocate spending double digits on lottery tickets in a year. If buying 2 or 3 is your only stupid thing and all your other finances are in order, I just don't see the need for hysteria about it. No one who spent $3 on something in a year was charging after a bad investment.

There are people that enjoy watching Let's Plays though...