Why I Don’t Play the Lottery (and You Probably Shouldn’t Either)

by Rich Finzer
Why I Don't Play Lottery photo

The odds of winning the lottery are incredibly small. So what drives people to relentlessly buy those scratch-off tickets? We should all beware of these lottery losers.

Growing up, I treated my parents to a plethora of misbehaviors. My errors in judgment or deportment resulted in prompt spankings or being “grounded,” but all were quickly forgiven and forgotten. After all, I was a boy kid and filled to capacity with the mischief little boys are known for.

But while still a youngster, my father exacted one unbreakable promise; he made me promise I would never gamble (as in for the rest of my life). Consequently, I’ve never visited a casino or bingo parlor, played cards for money, or become a willing participant in paying a tax on mathematical ignorance.

What’s mathematical ignorance? It’s simply playing scratch-off lottery games.

Revenue starved states market these wallet depleting diversions as “get rich quick” strategies, and in truth, a few lucky folks do buy a $1 scratch-off ticket that results in a payoff of thousands. Sadly, the odds of being that one lucky guy are less than being hit by a helicopter while traversing the Blue Mountain Tunnel in eastern Pennsylvania.

So, what drives folks to relentlessly buy scratch-off lottery tickets?

  • The perceived boredom of old age
  • Mathematical ignorance concerning the odds of success
  • Economic desperation caused by prolonged unemployment
  • Compulsive gambling

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If you’re still fit enough to work, get yourself a part-time job, preferably at a business which does not sell scratch-off tickets.

Before plunking down your cash, flip the ticket over and read the odds of winning. If you’re already in financial trouble, don’t compound the problem by gambling away the little money you still have. And if you can no longer control the urge to wager, seek counseling. Ironically, many states set aside a portion of lottery revenues to fund anti-gambling rehabilitation programs.

Gambling leverages the basest of all human vices: greed. I’ll lay 10 to 1 odds that if you quit throwing money away on games you aren’t supposed to win, you’ll be ahead in both the short run and the long run.

My dad died 51 years ago and perhaps his greatest legacy is the promise he made me keep. Thanks Pop.

Reviewed April 2021

About the Author

Rich Finzer resides in upstate New York. During his 40+ years as a writer, he has published over 1,200 newspaper, magazine and Internet articles. His award-winning book Maple On Tap: Making Your Own Maple Syrup is available Amazon.

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

Your Email:

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

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