I buy lottery tickets sometimes. I wanted to come clean about this up front because what you’re getting ready to read might convince you that the lottery is evil. I know all about everything on this page, and I still fall into the trap.
The main trap is the possibility, even if it’s extremely small, of winning millions while only risking a few dollars. And it’s ok to test you luck every once in a while, but it’s costly to play the lottery too much.
Here’s a list of the top 7 reasons why the lottery is actually evil. You can make your own decision after you have all of the facts.
1 – A Tax on Poor People
I’ve read that the lottery is a tax on poor people. I have a problem with this statement. I don’t have a problem because it isn’t true. The problem I have is that the lottery is a tax on anyone who plays it, whether they’re poor or rich.
Lottery games are designed to offer a small hope of winning more than you risk, while making huge money for the organization running the lottery. A few people win the lottery, but almost 100% of the people that play the lottery lose money.
The reason why the lottery is so evil for poor people is because so many of them are desperate for a chance to break out of their condition. And they’re better off spending money on things they need instead of wasting it on the lottery.
Poor people and rich people get to decide what they spend their money on. If poor people decide to fall for the evil of the lottery, it’s their choice. So it’s a tax on everyone, not just the poor.
2 – Built in Marketing
Lottery games, especially the big draw games that offer top jackpots of $10 million or more, don’t need much in the way of marketing to get people to play them. When a big lottery climbs over $100 million more people buy tickets.
Lottery officials are smart because not only do the big jackpots almost market themselves, but every place that sells lottery tickets also advertises the big jackpots. You can’t drive by a gas station without seeing the lottery amounts in the windows.
You’re bombarded by lottery marketing, and eventually you’re going to decide to pick up a few tickets if you’re like most people.
It’s ok if you want to buy a lottery ticket occasionally, but don’t spend too much overall on lottery tickets because the odds of winning are so small that they’re almost nonexistent.
3 – Scratch off Ticket Evils
Scratch off lottery tickets are the most evil thing the lottery ever did. You can buy scratch off tickets for $1 in most places, but higher priced games are also available. But instead of having a chance to win $10 million or more, the amount you can win is much lower.
The lottery officials take advantage of the human trait of wanting instant gratification. You can find out if you win in just a couple seconds. This feeds human nature. But you still lose more than you win in the long run, even if you get lucky.
And when you do win, it’s usually just enough to buy some more scratch off tickets. If you’re going to play the lottery, skip the scratch off tickets and play for a huge prize.
4 – Big Draw Evils
I just finished explaining why scratch off tickets are the most evil form of the lottery. In that section I explained why the big draw lottery games are better. And it’s true that big draw lottery games are better, but they’re still evil.
I’m going to cover the edge you’re playing against when you play the lottery in the final section on this page. But you need to understand just how bad the odds are against you winning a big lottery jackpot.
You can look up the actual odds for any big draw lottery, but most of them are at least 200,000,000 to 1 against you. This means that on average you need to buy 200 million tickets or more just to have an equal chance to win.
If you buy a ticket to a drawing that plays twice a week for every drawing for 100 years you only buy 10,400 tickets. Compare this to 200 million.
You simply can’t buy enough lottery tickets in your life to have a fair chance at winning a big lottery draw. And most lottery drawings don’t even have a top prize of $200 million or more. And if you did win $200 million, after taxes you’re not going to get anywhere close to that much.
5 – It’s Just $1
It’s just $1, so why not take a shot at a big win? Or it’s just $2, so why not try my luck?
This is exactly what lottery officials want you to think. After all, people spend $2 or more on a cup of coffee or pop every day. And these things don’t give you a chance to win anything.
Instead of looking at it this way, consider what you could buy with the money you invest in the lottery that gives you something worthwhile.
What about investing $10 in a used book that helps you make more where you work, or helps you learn how to start a business and work for yourself? Or saving the money you might spend on the lottery and buying more healthy food that helps you enjoy life more and live linger?
Every dollar you waste on the lottery is 1 less dollar you can send on something useful. This is the way to look at it to help you avoid the evil that’s the lottery.
6 – Legalized Gambling
Gambling is being legalized in more areas than in the past, but there are still many areas where gambling is against the law. Yet in most of these areas you can buy a lottery ticket. How in the world is the lottery not considered gambling?
Everyone with any sense knows that the lottery is gambling. But states and other areas know how much they can make from the lottery, so all of a sudden gambling isn’t so bad that they can’t offer it.
The word for this is hypocrites.
I’m not saying that you should be protected from yourself. You should have the right to decide if you want to buy a lottery ticket if you want. But if you can play the lottery you should also have the right to enjoy other types of gambling.
The fact is that every type of gambling is designed to make money for someone, and this someone isn’t the gambler. The lottery is designed to make money for the state or government in most places. Just like casinos are designed to make money for the casino owners.
7 – The Biggest Edge
If you’re looking for the gambling activity that has the worst edge, the lottery is always going to be at or near the top of the list. Even the best lottery games have an edge over 50%, and some of them are as high as 90%.
Here’s what this means in a more simple form. If a lottery game has a 50% edge, it means that the lottery keeps 50% of all the money wagered on games and gives back the other 50%. If the lottery has a 90% edge, it only gives back 10% of all the money it takes in.
When you compare this to other gambling activities you can see why the lottery is so evil.
Real money blackjack games usually have an edge of 1 to 2%. Most casino table games have an edge of 2 to 5%. Slot machines have an edge of 2 to 15%. Sportsbooks have an edge of less than 5% on most wagers.
The edge is so high on lottery games that you’re better off doing just about any other gambling activity.
It’s been said that the lottery is a tax on the poor. This statement has quite a bit of truth to it, but the poor and rich get to decide how to spend their money. The lottery costs poor people money just like it does anyone else that plays.
The biggest trap is the belief that it’s only a couple dollars for a chance to win millions. But a couple dollars every day adds up to almost $1,000 every year.
When you realize how big the edge the lottery has is, you can see how just about any other form of gambling offers a better rate of return.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …