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Lottery participation

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Lottery participation is growing by leaps and bounds. As jackpots increase in value, more people participate in chance games. Some are so addicted to a lottery that they play weekly ... hoping to win big-time. Dreams often times influence participation.

U.S poet/short-story writer Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) wrote, “Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” Shout “lottery” and it is both horrifying and enticing. A lottery can make people do freaky things.

Being that lottery participation is a well-known losing proposition, why do people play it? They are intent on playing it until their “horse” comes in and they can claim their multi-million fortunes. Mega millions, Powerball payouts fascinate!

U.S. essayist Agnes Repplier (1858-1950) opined: “Just as we are often moved to merriment for no other reason than that the occasion calls for seriousness, so we are correspondingly serious when invited to freely be amused.” Think lottery participation.

Here are seven relative truths with regard to lottery participation and its impact:

1. According to a 2008 study, lottery players earn around $13,000 annually and spend, on average, 9 percent of their income on lottery tickets.

2. Playing the lottery is not investing; it is akin to tossing away asset lines.

3. Lottery participation is addictive; a gambling habit that could destabilize one’s well-being and erode assets.

4. If a person purchased a $2.00 Powerball ticket each week from age 18 to 75, that would total $592,800. With jackpot odds worse than 1 in 175 million, the odds for winning would be a 1-295-chance of winning.

5. $592,800 put in savings, a 401(k), a Roth Ira would generate predictable, steady income for life and beyond. (Confer with a financial planner.)

6. Cash-strapped governments plan and push lotteries readily knowing that people primarily playing them can least afford to play.

7. An occasional desire to participate in a lottery is quite apropos and timely. But consider a major winning a financial lightning strike.

Ironically, some “education-related” lotteries enhance state government infrastructures. But if a civic club, organization desires to award small bingo prizes, it is violating an anti-gambling law. Supposedly one is responsible; the other isn’t.

U.S. author Henry Miller (1891-1980) said: “Until we lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.” This seems true with regard to lottery participation.

Reach T&D columnist Howard Hill, PhD, via


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