Service of Luck II

November 29th, 2012

Categories: Luck

I wrote about a huge lotto winning in a previous post, “Service of Surprises,” although I’ve also covered the subject of luck before, albeit in a different context. The morning after a huge lotto drawing–$580 million going to two winners–I couldn’t resist revisiting the topic.

I didn’t win, nor did anyone in the office in which I rent space.

A talk show host who was not tempted to buy a single ticket reminded the listeners that lottery tickets are a form of double taxation, the first being the money spent on the tickets and the second, on the winnings if over a certain amount. I think we are aware of this but the temptation is to get lots for little.

There are exceptions–for some the cost is too much. I heard a statistic on another radio station that among those who play the lotto, people with incomes of $13,000/year spend over a thousand dollars–9 percent–on lottery games.

This leads to the subjects of hope and taking advantage of people’s grasping for same.  Is that what the lottery does? If a few dollars lost won’t make a difference to your family the lottery is exciting and fun. Otherwise, it’s more than heartbreak. When slot machines in the clubs of overseas US military bases were causing financial difficulties for some who poured their salaries into them the slots were removed. Should the lottery continue?

6 Responses to “Service of Luck II”

  1. Merv Kaufman Said:

    It’s gambling, no matter how you slice it, and though lottery proceeds are supposed to go to education, I somehow doubt that much of it actually gets there. I watch people buying lottery cards every week—and anxiously scraping away to see if their numbers win anything. The danger, as I see, is ADDICTION. People who regularly and devotedly buy lottery cards do so hoping that they will someday, somehow, be winners…mindful that the odds are stacked mile-high against them. I myself think any addition is toxic and should be terminated. Where lottery cards are concerned, I would direct participants to other types of saving or investing…or to other forms of gambling that, though similarly hopeless, could be a lot more fun.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    You are right, Merv, when the gambling becomes an addiction, like any other one, the gambler is headed for trouble. We protect people from cigarette smoke, extra large sodas and pregnancy. I wonder why we don’t protect them from bankruptcy due to gambling.

  3. Kathleen Fredrick Said:

    I agree with you and Merv. I, too, heard that low-income folks spend a very high percentage of their meager income on lottery tickets. Probably what drives them is the false hope that they’ll win big and solve all their problems. Don’t now how we can prevent their buying lotto tickets, but it’s sure a shame that they do.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I empathize with the quick fix in any situation–financial, health or job-related. I could think of tons of things that would change and stresses that would disappear with an infusion of a chunk of change but I am lucky in that when I lose, it’s $2 or $4 [now that powerball costs $2]–not hundreds.

    When ill, I go for the over the counter remedy if at all possible rather than the doctor visit. As I’ve written previously, I fall for the “easy” do it yourself option to save from hiring a professional [but because I am not handy like your sister I end up spending for both].

    I don’t know how you show a desperate person who can’t cover his/her basic bills that to put money they don’t have aside and let it grow advances them. We put change in piggy banks, but if you make $13,000/year, you will need that change to buy a potato or milk. What a quandry.

  5. Horace Peabody Said:

    No question. The lottery is gambling. It is also a hidden tax on the poor. It is also extremely stupid to play as the odds are so heavily stacked against the ticket buyer. None-the-lesss, it does serve an extremely useful purpose as it, if I understand correctly, even if the State’s winnings may never make it to education, does keep the money that people wager out of the hands of the Mob.

    It also serves another useful, not so easily defined, purpose, It lets ever so many sad people who seem to be living their lives in increasingly darker shades of grey, the cheering sparkle of sunlight dancing on the gentle ripples of a mountain brook, if only for a moment. It is marvelous what hope can do for the human spirit.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I’m with you, Horace! Let’s drink to hope. It’s a bargain at $1.00.

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