Day 1, Entry #2 with Jeremy Satcher discussing the Mega Million jackpot and the pros and cons of the lottery.
I haven’t been bombarded by Twitter and status updates about people buying lotto tickets, outside of one of my friends winning ten bucks with a scratch-off. Because of this, I haven’t heard about the absurdly high winning ticket reward, although (since I live in Georgia currently) I have seen some higher than normal rewards for the past month, but considering I live some fifteen minutes from the coast, all of this hullabaloo about the packed houses on the Alabama-Georgia border has passed me by.
The big question for this discussion however, is whether or not Alabama should have a state lottery. I, personally, think it would be a positive decision. According to the statistics I’ve looked into, 60 percent of the lotto earnings go to the winners, 15 percent to the retailers and 25 percent go to the states participating. In most cases, this 25 percent goes to the education departments for the state, which is something I can get behind. This additional revenue is often criticized however, due to it either being a drop in the bucket or justification for lowering existing funds for education. I’ve found that in Colorado, the state’s cut of the lotto money goes to environmental protection. I lived in South Western Colorado for a few months and found the fragile landscape to be aesthetically pleasing, so I back that use of the money completely.
The lotto also comes under fire for being a gamble and being a zero sum (if not negative) game. Critics of the lottery can advise people to not play the lottery all they want, but I think people will choose to gamble anyway. Humans aren’t good at calculating odds in general, and when gambling is set up as a game, players can easily gain the conceit that they can win the prize if only they’re “really skilled at gambling,” which is perhaps one of the most foolish statements a person can make, right behind the two classics: “if you lose your memory when you get blackout drunk, getting just as drunk again will help you remember” and “I think the chick tending bar digs me”.
Get-rich-quick fixes have always been glorified in this society; just look at the rags-to-riches stories we glorify as being the result of hard work and dedication, ignoring the fact that random circumstance played a large roll too. While reading articles, I found this gem of a quote from a man who purchased a single ticket with his girlfriend: “We gonna go home and make love on the ticket right here. We gonna win!”
I always thought it was funny when pop music videos depicting celebrities celebrating (as they are prone to do) with champagne and good ol’ carnal pleasure on top of piles of money, but I’ve never heard of folks screwing on top of the potential for a pile of money. It’s like a having a Thanksgiving feast with a cornucopia of uncooked macaroni. But you know, just like some weird guy said, “A fool and his money are soon parted”. And honestly, some people will always be fools.
I’m not going to deny them their ill-conceived dreams of winning it big; I don’t have that right. So even though it can be a detriment to the players, we ultimately own ourselves, and so long as retailers and states can benefit from people choosing to spend their money, I’m all for it.