Testing Your Luck

You are ten times more likely to get struck by lightning than to win the lottery, one of the many reasons the lottery has a negative impact on society. Not only does it destroy your saving account, but it ruins the hope of many wishful, and even desperate Americans. The common theme when it comes to gambling through the country wide lottery, is that everyone thinks they are going to win.

People value money for a number of reasons, yet some do not value it enough to save it; instead, they spend a little on a lottery ticket now, in the hopes of winning a lot of money to spend later. Anyone over the age of 18 with a few extra bucks in their wallet can participate in this game of chance.

The lottery has become prevalent in American society because so many people participate in it, regardless of their income level.  Even the ever- popular and academically credible Kim Kardashian is weighing in on the subject! That’s when you know it’s important.

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The lottery indirectly effects our society in numerous ways. Even though a majority of people believe the lottery is a long shot or a scam, they still participate in this game of diminishing returns in numerous ways such as scratch offs, lottos, and number games. And even though people shouldn’t count on it to feed their kids, take the bus, or pay the rent, they still do!

The money spent on lottery tickets in 2014 doubled the amount of money spent on movies, concerts, sports games, and books alone as you can see in the graph below.

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The lottery has people hypnotized. All people, regardless of their socioeconomic status,  will mindlessly throw away a few bucks in the hopes of turning a tremendous profit. But at $1 or $2 or $5 a ticket, such expenditures can really add up.

Here are a few better ways you can spend your money rather than wasting it on a lottery ticket:

  • donate it
  • buy a gym membership
  • education
  • invest in a hobby

In this audio clip played on NPR, mathematician Aaron Abrams discusses the sobering odds of winning the jackpot.

Produced by the TLC network, this clip explains the real odds of winning the lottery and tells the story of an old couple who, after numerous attempts, finally won the jackpot.

But don’t get too excited. There is literally a 0.0000006 % chance of winning the Powerball, but it doesn’t matter.  People are still willing to spend $1 for the chance at winning $100 billion.


Academics such as Norbet Henze and Hans Riedwyl have even written books on how to increase your chances of winning the lottery. Their novel,How to Win More: Strategies for Increasing a Lottery Winprovides tips and tricks on how to increase the return on investment when playing the lottery. The intense and complicated math is kept to a minimum so it can be easily understood by the common reader.


So yes, everyone knows there is a lucky winner every once in a while, but your chances are staggeringly low. So the next time you have an extra dollar in your pocket at your local 7-11, spend it on a Slurpee.

Here is a little more of my thoughts:




Author: gaddyek

Alexandria, VA; junior at James Madison University; majoring in School of Media Arts and Design (Creative Advertising); minoring in Communications Studies

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