TIL Americans Spend More On Lottery Tickets Than On Movies, Video Games, Music, Sports Tix And Books Combined

TIL Americans Spend More On Lottery Tickets Than On Movies, Video Games, Music, Sports Tix And Bo...

I worked at a convenience store in high school and it was absolutely crazy how much people would drop on lotto tickets and scratch offs. I would see the same four or five people spending hundreds several times a week.

Growing up, my parents always told me that lotteries are a tax on people that are bad at math.

The American Dream: throw all of your money away on the < 1% chance of hitting it big.

You're about 6 orders of magnitude too lucky for the lottery

I knew a guy who was aware of the real mathematical odds but justified buying lottery tickets by saying the few minutes he would spend thinking about what he would do with the money was worth the cost of the ticket.

Playing the lottery is just another form of escaping reality. It’s kind of like playing virtual reality, but in your own head. Your brain runs a simulation of what you’d do with the money if you win.

And it's disproportionately poor people.

Yay lottery?

A tax on optimism. A tax on desperation. A tax on need. A tax on that bit inside all of us that fell in love with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ...

Isn't that super depressing? Like a disabled person talking/imagining all the things they could do if they were healthy...only for the sudden realization that this will never come true to kick in?

Yep, I'm that guy too. Bang for the buck, it's the best entertainment. I can plan out how I'll spend it, how many people I'll help, how I'll live and as far as money per hour, I get more entertainment than going to a movie theater.

Of course its poor people, the rich people have already won!

It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

-George Carlin

-Michael Scarn

I worked for one week at a gas station in New Hampshire. One woman would come in every night and blow two or three hundred bucks on lotto tickets, then go scratch them in the parking lot. Once she had lost, she would start calling people to beg and cry for money.

She's the reason I quit, since she would wheel and ply her family for hours and I heard every fucking word of it.

The number of people isn't a factor in probability since a winner isn't required each time and there can be multiple winners. It's based on the number of possible combinations of the numbers.

Also, many people tend to significantly overestimate the odds of winning because we tend to assess the likelihood of an event occurring based on how frequently we hear about it happening. The technical name for this is the Availability Heuristic, which means the more we hear about big winners in the press, the less uncommon a big payday begins to seem.

Part of the psychology that makes this occur.

It's less manipulation, more "for every dollar I spend it's a chance to win millions". People generally don't understand how low the actual chances are, and gambling is an addiction for a reason.

The American Dream is harder to reach than most people stink.

But if I don't buy a ticket there is zero chance that I will win. The miniscule odds are what makes me feel that I can daydream and plan about the money I will likely never win.

I mean, if your advice starts with "live below your means" then you're not really living the American Dream, which generally involves a certain level of prosperity. Also, it is impossible for most people to hold "a job that is in demand." For one thing, if more people had that job, demand for it would go down.

Honestly, I don't play the lottery, but I still imagine what I would do if became rich. Saves me money, and a better chance at actually being rich.

Growing up, my parents always told me that if I sat too close to the television, I would go blind. The joke is on them, though, because now they are divorced and I can still see.

Lottery is Skill

Poker is luck

Ask our government.

I think you mean <.000001%. I think you forget how big American population is.

Politicians will often divert money from the state's general fund away from education once those lottery dollars start rolling in [source].

Like a lot of gambling, it preys on the populations that can least afford it, which in turns exacerbates poverty, crime, and the need for public assistance. [Too lazy to find a source.]

I'm with you on that. I used to day dream about winning the lottery too, then I realized how awful it was for me. If someone really wants to be financially independent, they should have a plan for it. Dreaming about a lottery win just makes you escape your current situation for a second and it might lead to people counting on the lottery for retirement like a lot of people do.

$10 a day isn't much better. My dad did this when he had some pretty nasty credit card debt until I pointed out that was like $3-4 thousand dollars per year.

Spending five dollar once won't change someones life, spending a lot of money on buying lottery tickets again and again really can sum up in a years budget (just as smoking will).

Besides that, even if you win the lottery it possibly won't make your life happy and perfect. Many people who won the lottery made a lot of terrible choices and met bad people who exploit them. People quit their jobs, spend money on expensive cars and houses and quickly are in debt. Iirc winning the lottery severely increases the chance of several bad things happening to you. Being murdered because of it is an extreme case.

Abraham Shakespeare was murdered in 2009 after he won a $30 million lotto jackpot. The 47-year-old Florida man was shot twice in the chest and then buried under a slab of concrete in a backyard, ABC News reported. DeeDee Moore, who authorities say befriended him after his lotto win, was found guilty of first degree murder in 2012. His brother, Robert Brown, told the BBC that Shakespeare always said he regretted winning the lottery. “‘I’d have been better off broke.’ He said that to me all the time,” Brown said.

“I wish that we had torn the ticket up” Jack Whittaker was already a millionaire when he won a $315 million in a lottery in West Virginia in 2002. The then-55-year-old West Virginia construction company president claimed he went broke about four years later and lost a daughter and a granddaughter to drug overdoses, which he blamed on the curse of the Powerball win, according to ABC News. “My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he told ABC. “You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up, too.” Whittaker was also robbed of $545,000 sitting in his car while he was at a strip club eight months after winning the lottery. “I just don’t like Jack Whittaker. I don’t like the hard heart I’ve got,” he said. “I don’t like what I’ve become.”

“He’s the last person I would have prototyped for going completely crazy but he did,” McNay told TIME on Tuesday. “No question it was because he won the lottery.”

When I lived in Nashville, I knew two different people - separately, they didn't know each other - who both literally told me that they were relying on winning the lottery in order to have money to live on. In other words, they didn't look for work because they just assumed that they'd win the lottery and live off of that the rest of their lives.

He switched to $1 tickets. I think even he realized the ridiculousness of that much money. Like, that alone could cover his debts.

Also possibly proof that lower income folks don't see a path out of being low income without something exceedingly rare happening to them.

It is if we must subsidize some other portion of their life so they can spend this money in this way. I agree with your overall premise, but we are affected by some of their choices too.

scratch offs

With that logic, there's no point in buying them at all.

You're paying for entertainment, essentially. You know very well the chances of winning are low, but you also know it's a possibility.

My favorite were the ones that won like $200 then put it all back into more tickets plus another $100. Classic.

The sad truth here is if they instead put that money into any sort of investment funds after a decade or two they would actually have a decent little savings

They'd do far better even going to a casino.

Casino slots are generally regulated to pay back 90% or better, and most other games have a 90-95% payout built into the rules.

State lotteries pay out less than 50%, because they're used as an idiot tax.

In Canada, to claim the lotto prize, you have to do a elementary school level math question--hence, "game of skill".

I believe both of the following:

Poor people should save money instead of spending it on lottery tickets, and governments shouldn't make it easier for them to remain in poverty by running lotteries in the first place.

I have no legal or moral right to dictate how anyone spends their money.

I don't think there's any contradiction there. Having opinions about what people should do is not the same as controlling what they do, and the right to purchase goods/services doesn't imply an obligation on anyone's part to offer those goods/services.

Everytime the lottery comes up Reddit gets in such a circle jerk over how intelligent they are for not playing the lottery.

Most people understand that they aren't going to win, but for many people a dollar is worth the hope of telling their boss to suck it and finally afford to unlock all of battlefront.

Not to mention I don't smoke, drink pop, or really even eat candy or chips so I think I've earned the few bucks to waste on something stupid that won't ruin my health

i love getting rich

I don't. I spend, on average, maybe $150 a year on the lottery.

Movies, and Video Games combined, I spend at least three times that per year.

That's probably why they are so intelligent.

This is the only way to win the rigged game.

If true, truest true. And truestly sadly true too

Truly sad if true.

Well....my uncle just won $50,000.

I think that some people skew the results. No one I know spends that much on lottery tickets.

Edit: spends the average the article listed.