Forgot your password?

To me, lotteries represent ...

Displaying poll results.
The best odds I have at financial recovery
  1647 votes / 10%
A tax on people who can't do math
  9632 votes / 61%
A decent way to raise public funds
  2260 votes / 14%
A decent way to raise private funds
  324 votes / 2%
The best way to choose who dies each year
  1898 votes / 12%
15761 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

To me, lotteries represent ...

Comments Filter:
  • Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @07:49PM (#39530885)

    I get sick of hearing the smug crap about lotteries being a tax on people who can't do math. There are plenty of mathematically literate people who realize that lotteries are for fun, not investing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. I'm not stupid. It's just fun to be able to daydream "what if I win?"

      • I also don't get the fun part, I can think about how fun it could be to win without ever buying a lottery ticket. Just long enough to realize I'd rather have real fun by using that money to buy beer instead.
        • Re:Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rufus Firefly (2379458) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:57PM (#39531929)
          Where in the hell can you find (good) beer for $1?

          Like I told my father in law, the dollar buys you the fantasy of going and taking a dump on your boss's desk (or quietly peeing in all the corners of the peoples' offices you don't like, and then quitting abruptly). That's all. I know I'm not going to win it, but the fantasy breaks down if you don't spend the dollar. (If you're spending more than $1, though, then you're wasting your money.)

          • Make it.

            Don't fantasize, make your dreams happen.

          • Re:Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by urusan (1755332) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @12:35AM (#39532269)

            You can have that fantasy for free, you're just being unimaginitive.

            Even if you can't have your fantasies without a realistic component, it shouldn't be too hard to imagine another low probability event that brings in a large sum of money without using up your $1.

            If you're willing to throw money away for a fantasy, you should instead be tossing it into high-risk investments. If you put $1/day into Apple stock back in 1997, you'd have roughly $218,400 today. If you had done that for several years, you'd have several million dollars today. It's unlikely that you would have picked Apple, but compared to winning the lottery...(if you had chosen a NASDAQ company at random to put your money into, your chances of picking Apple would have been 1 in 2,711, compared to the 1 in a million+ chances of winning a major lottery...and most of the other outcomes wouldn't be a loss).

            • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
              Thank you... Very good points you made there. Now please excuse me while I actually do what you said.
            • Re:Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Kjella (173770) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @06:06AM (#39533197) Homepage

              Even if you can't have your fantasies without a realistic component, it shouldn't be too hard to imagine another low probability event that brings in a large sum of money without using up your $1. If you put $1/day into Apple stock back in 1997, you'd have roughly $218,400 today.

              But that's where you could be in 15 years, a lottery ticket is where you can be next week. Next week, no more mortgage to the chimney, no more McJob, no more rust wreck, no more cheapass vacations and skimping on the fun stuff. You can afford to buy a McMansion, quit your job, get a Ferrari, go to a luxury resort and eat caviar and drink champagne. One way or another you'd probably score some premium pussy too. No, there's not really many other events than winning the lottery that offers that (though I did get a tempting offer from a Nigerian prince in my email), not of such proportion and immediacy.

              That said, those of us that really think this way may make up many people, but we make up a very small portion of the money involved in gambling. I have absolutely no interest in sitting down at a game where my top earning would be less than $10,000 because I know it's not a zero-sum game, in some way they're making a profit on me and in the long run I'd lose. I'd have to beat the odds to win and in a big lottery that can happen, it just takes one winning ticket and I'd be way, way ahead. But I only need the one ticket too, I don't need five or ten or a hundred. I just want to pay the least possible to be in that pool, no more.

              • Re:Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by morari (1080535) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @09:03AM (#39533783) Journal

                But that's where you could be in 15 years, a lottery ticket is where you can be next week. Next week, no more mortgage to the chimney, no more McJob, no more rust wreck, no more cheapass vacations and skimping on the fun stuff. You can afford to buy a McMansion, quit your job, get a Ferrari, go to a luxury resort and eat caviar and drink champagne.

                Don't bury yourself with a mortgage to begin with? Stop buying into the "American Dream" and start living debt free. It's not very difficult to actually own a decent car. Nor does it take too much dedication to actually own your house and land. Hell, if you've even got a shred of intellect you can work entirely for yourself! The lottery isn't going to change any of that for someone already making poor financial decisions. If you immediately go out and buy some ridiculous mansion and a bunch of sports cars you'll quickly find yourself without any money again, trying desperately to afford all of those new toys. Though I suppose that is exactly the kind of idiot who plays the lottery to begin with.

                • by Kjella (173770)

                  Okay, so maybe that was a bit full of hyperbole but I make above average pay, have been fairly sensible about money and even I like to dream about being ridiculously rich. My apartment isn't drowned in loans, my job isn't a McJob, right now I don't have a car but when I did it wasn't a rust wreck and I can afford some fairly nice vacations but I'd sure like an upgrade on all of the above. And no, I wouldn't blow the whole winnings on it - but give me $35 million which was the top prize in a lottery here in

                • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by Xeno man (1614779) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @03:51PM (#39536457)
                  Look, a lottery is just another form of entertainment. Don't act so high and mighty just because its not your thing.

                  You can play a weekly for about $5 depending on what lotteries you play,
                  or you can buy a fancy coffee for about $10 a day,
                  or you can buy smokes for about $20 a week,
                  or you can go to the movies twice a month for about $20 a visit or this or that.

                  Frankly a lottery is one of the cheapest things you can throw your money away at. Just start picking apart any enjoyment you buy and think how much you spend in a year and the fact that there is zero return on investment. At least a lottery has a >0 ROI.
                  • by morari (1080535)

                    You can play a weekly for about $5 depending on what lotteries you play,
                    or you can buy a fancy coffee for about $10 a day,
                    or you can buy smokes for about $20 a week,
                    or you can go to the movies twice a month for about $20 a visit or this or that.

                    I wouldn't do any of those things though, because they're all over priced and/or have no lasting benefit. At least with those examples, you are actually getting something in return for your money. The lottery gains you nothing but the misplaced hope of one day striking it big and being able to buy a bunch of tacky crap to fill your house with.

                  • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Informative)

                    by arth1 (260657) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @08:08AM (#39540153) Homepage Journal

                    Frankly a lottery is one of the cheapest things you can throw your money away at. Just start picking apart any enjoyment you buy and think how much you spend in a year and the fact that there is zero return on investment. At least a lottery has a >0 ROI.

                    You need to look up ROI because it doesn't mean what you think it means. Lotteries have a 0 ROI.
                    If a lottery has 80% payback, the gains on a $1.00 bet is $0.80.
                    The ROI is then (0.80 - 1.00) / 1.00 = -0.20

                    Americans households spend an average of $540 a year on lotteries alone, not counting other forms of gambling. That's not what I call "cheap", and several times what they spend at e.g. the movies.

            • Telling people to throw money at High risk investments instead of the lottery isn't necessarily any smarter fiscally, and in either case should only be done with a small portion of an investment portfolio, if at all.

              I read this article back in December in Time [time.com] which said that had you redirected your lottery spending to stocks over the 10 years ending December 2010, your annualized return would have amounted to -1.54%, according to Standard & Poor's.



              As for Apple, that is a horrible example for in
              • Re:Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by pokerdad (1124121) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @10:44AM (#39534381)

                I read this article back in December in Time which said that had you redirected your lottery spending to stocks over the 10 years ending December 2010, your annualized return would have amounted to -1.54%, according to Standard & Poor's.

                If you still had 98.46% of your money at the end of 10 years you would be significantly ahead of where you'd be if you'd been putting the money in a lottery.

                • *Most* people would be significantly ahead, a small number would be orders of magnitude behind.
                  • by urusan (1755332)

                    and a small number would be orders of magnitude ahead.

                    Life is inherently risky. A small number of investors would be dead due to accidents in the same time period. Should that risk dissuade us from investing in the future?

              • by urusan (1755332)

                Telling people to throw money at High risk investments instead of the lottery isn't necessarily any smarter fiscally, and in either case should only be done with a small portion of an investment portfolio, if at all.

                I read this article back in December in Time [time.com] which said that had you redirected your lottery spending to stocks over the 10 years ending December 2010, your annualized return would have amounted to -1.54%, according to Standard & Poor's.

                Actually, the funny thing is that this figure is most likely based directly on the S&P 500 index, which means that a highly diversified portfolio is what would have lost 1.54% over that time period. Someone who threw their all into one company might have come out substantially ahead over the same time period, but it would be risky.

                I'm not saying that concentrating your money into a high-risk investment is the best way to make money on the stock market over the long term, but such an investment can simul

                • Actually, the funny thing is that this figure is most likely based directly on the S&P 500 index, which means that a highly diversified portfolio is what would have lost 1.54% over that time period. Someone who threw their all into one company might have come out substantially ahead over the same time period, but it would be risky.

                  I'm not saying that concentrating your money into a high-risk investment is the best way to make money on the stock market over the long term, but such an investment can simulate the feel of the lottery (if this pays out I'll have $4 million and I can quit my job!) with a much better statistical outlook.

                  Much better? How does spending $1 on a random lottery ticket once or twice a month on the chance that I win $100+ million whenever the lottery peaks prove to be a poor choice? Even if I spend $12 a year, that is still more equitable in the dreams of achieving a beyond lucrative return than the purchase of (insert high risk stock here) + fees.

                  Apple is not a horrible example because I'm talking about high risk investments. During all the bad years that Apple went through, it would have seemed like a terrible option and most investors clearly felt this way. However, getting in and sticking with Apple at any point before 2004 would have led to absurd returns today (roughly 6000% plus up to two stock splits).

                  The stock splits shouldn't be considered as abnormally large or beneficial, especially to anybody who didn't have a large number of shares. The last split in 2005 was a

                  • by urusan (1755332)

                    Even if I spend $12 a year, that is still more equitable in the dreams of achieving a beyond lucrative return than the purchase of (insert high risk stock here) + fees.

                    Well, I guess if you're going to be that cheap about it then you're right. At such low volumes it's not worth the fees. I was thinking more along the lines of $365/year, which would be more workable if done right (taking advantage of current trading relationships and being done once a year in a lump sum or even less frequently).

                    You would've had odds somewhere around 1 in 5-6k that you would've won the lottery if you spent a total of $180 in $1 increments on lottery tickets whenever the jackpot was over $200 million. That is significantly less than the fees you would've paid investing (varying by your broker/how you purchase), and is negligible in impact to your overall portfolio for a 15 year time span.

                    Wait...what lottery is this? The Mega Millions lottery is the only one I know of that has reached $200+ million levels (3 times) and it has 175,711,536:1 odds. Buying 180 tickets wou

              • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Bob9113 (14996) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @02:50PM (#39536075) Homepage

                I read this article back in December in Time [time.com] which said that had you redirected your lottery spending to stocks over the 10 years ending December 2010, your annualized return would have amounted to -1.54%, according to Standard & Poor's.

                Astounding. If you pick the worst possible ten year period in stock market investing in the modern era, spanning from a stock bubble to a post-crash lull, during a period of unprecedentedly reckless public spending, you can actually observe a loss (as long as you adjust for inflation). :)

          • by lxs (131946)

            One of the best beers in Europe and voted as such in a blind test by a panel of Belgian consumers is cheap German supermarket beer [allvoices.com] and costs 0.49 euro per half liter. In Belgium they take their beers very seriously so the news was a bit of a shock when it hit.

          • by geoskd (321194)

            Where in the hell can you find (good) beer for $1?

            Probably in the same place you can find someone who buys lottery tickets and only spends $1 per week...

            Where I work there has been a lottery craze thanks to the jackpot, and this past week about a dozen of my co-workers pooled their funds and spent $1,000 each on lottery tickets. These people are otherwise normal people, but when it comes to the gambling, they are morons. The lot of them could have spent that money and gone on a cruise instead, but now they have nothing.

            -=Geoskd

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by azalin (67640)
          I'm always fascinated that the same people buy lottery tickets a agree that nuclear plants are safe. Whereas the probability of hitting the jackpot is far lower than having another Chernobyl (or being run over by a bus).
      • Re:Ugh. (Score:5, Informative)

        by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @09:06AM (#39533803)

        Agreed. I'm not stupid. It's just fun to be able to daydream "what if I win?"

        Here in the UK we have Premium Bonds for that (Government savings bonds with a monthly lottery in lieu of interest, and enough smaller prizes to provide some return if you leave money in long-term): instead of buying the dream with real money, you buy the dream with the hypothetical extra interest you could have earned if you had invested the money elsewhere. Not the best investment, although if you compare apples with apples (risk, ease of access, tax status, actual chance of you continually moving money around to get decent rates) and you've used up your other tax-free allowances you could do worse.

        The national lottery gets better publicity, though. The Government would rather have poor people giving them money for free than slightly better-off people lending them money at low interest.

        • Now you've gotten me curious. Do the many small prizes actually give you a steady rate or return, or is it more like a random noise that just slightly tilted in your favor? In other words, could you actually lose money in the long term in these things?
          • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Informative)

            by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @01:49PM (#39535719)

            Now you've gotten me curious. Do the many small prizes actually give you a steady rate or return, or is it more like a random noise that just slightly tilted in your favor? In other words, could you actually lose money in the long term in these things?

            Basically, each £1 bond has a 1:24000 chance of winning a prize each month. The vast majority of the prizes are £25. So, if you buy £24,000 worth you'll get a pretty consistent £25 per month tax free return (nothing one month, £50 the next, etc...) If you do get one of the slightly better prizes, that will put you ahead of the game for a while (I've had one £100 win). Obviously, the less you put in the longer you'll have to leave it in to be sure of getting that rate of return.

            You can't lose money in the "game over - insert coin" sense - you can always get all of your stake back on demand and its government-backed (did we lose our AAA rating yet?). You can "lose" in the sense that your rate of return is likely to be less than the rate of inflation - but the same is currently true of most no-risk/no access restrictions savings accounts, once you factor in the tax rates on savings interest, especially if you can't be arsed to move your money around all the time to get the "special introductory rates". They're mainly of interest if you're on the 40% tax rate and have used up your other tax-free savings allowances.

            The other advantage over the lottery is that the jackpot is a sensible £1M, which I think I could deal with without ending up face down in a heart-shaped swimming pool surrounded by empty coke wrappers.

          • by xaxa (988988)

            I think my mum has about £5000 in premium bonds (of which about £50 is technically mine, a gift when I was about 5 years old).

            She gets enough "prizes" of £25 or £50 that it's OK, but I don't think she's ever won more than that.

            You can't lose the original money.

            Details: http://www.nsandi.com/savings-premium-bonds [nsandi.com]

      • Agreed. I'm not stupid. It's just fun to be able to daydream "what if I win?"

        Missing option: "A ticket to daydream about"

    • What's "fun" about it? There's no skill involved, just random chance. The only time it could be fun is in the unlikely event that you win.

      • Re:Ugh. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by eln (21727) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:16PM (#39531715) Homepage
        Las Vegas and countless Indian casinos are built on games that range from entirely to almost entirely random chance. I, personally, don't get the charm of gambling at all, but obviously a lot of other people do. When the lottery gets big like this, and the national news starts to run stories on it, you also get the added incentive of peoples' innate desire to be part of something that everyone's talking about.

        I've bought exactly one lottery ticket in my life, and spent a total of $1.25 gambling in Las Vegas. I find gambling in general insufferably dull and pointless, but I'm clearly in the minority based on how large and profitable an industry it is.
    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      As painful as most modern movies are, I get much more entertainment from a $8 movie than from buying 8 power ball tickets, soon to be only 4.

      The lottery is also a tax on those who can't find decent things to do with their time and money.

    • "... on people who can't do math."

      I'm not sure who the people are who can't do math. Sure the odds are very low of winning, but the flip side is that you are risking very, very little for a huge payout. That doesn't seem so unsound.

      I rarely play, but on an occasion like this, what the heck. If you want to call me stupid for spending $5 on a chance to win $600 million go right ahead.

      • "... on people who can't do math."

        I'm not sure who the people are who can't do math. Sure the odds are very low of winning, but the flip side is that you are risking very, very little for a huge payout. That doesn't seem so unsound.

        I rarely play, but on an occasion like this, what the heck. If you want to call me stupid for spending $5 on a chance to win $600 million go right ahead.

        I think that reasoning puts you in the group they're talking about. (not intended as an insult, I think the people saying it's a tax need to realize that not everyone is buying them as some sort of investment)

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          No, the issue is that the "value" to a person doesn't match the "value" on paper. The "value" of a dollar is zero for most people. If they lost a dollar, they'd never know. They'd make some minor adjustment that would be essentially imperceptible (skip a single coffee or candy bar purchase and come out ahead). So the "loss" of a dollar on a lottery ticket is zero. Granted the logic fails when scaled up (buying 100 tickets is non-zero for value, even if 100*0=0), but it is, non the less, true for the wa
          • by arth1 (260657)

            Um, that way of thinking - not realizing that the sum of small amounts isn't small - is a deficiency in mathematical understanding.

            On average, US households spend $525 per year on lotteries alone, and "win" back $400. And they don't even realize that the expenses add up to this much - they don't claim the expenses on their taxes to offset their winnings. They pay the winning taxes and the cumulative losses.

      • As another poster pointed out, there are a lot of other high-risk investments that have better odds. You may enjoy playing the lottery, although given how little time it takes to buy the ticket I can think of more fun ways of gambling, but if you're viewing it as a high-risk, high-return investment then there are better options. Not sure about lotteries in the US, but in the UK 50% of the ticket price goes towards prizes, so on average everyone who plays loses half of their money. With the jackpots, you
    • It is a tax for the stupid people who buy a lot of tickets thinking that it will greatly increase their odds. I usually just buy one or two. Just so I am in the playing because if you don't play your odds are 0. A couple bucks every few weeks/months is just for the joy of getting your hopes up... Just a little bit.
    • by jd2112 (1535857)

      I get sick of hearing the smug crap about lotteries being a tax on people who can't do math. There are plenty of mathematically literate people who realize that lotteries are for fun, not investing.

      What are you talking about, Most lotteries have better odds than the 401k at my last job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @07:51PM (#39530895)

    Some say stupidity tax.
    I found my interest in the lottery is correlates more closely with how desparate I am to change my life.

  • by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:01PM (#39530961) Homepage Journal

    The lottery is a tax, often on the disadvantaged and least able to make rational decisions. It is collected by a private agency, who takes a sizable chunk of it, so it's also a tax that rivals anything we've seen in Iraq or Afghanistan in terms of money diverted. The government collects thrice on what's left -- the "causes" the lottery funds (all of which are things the government is - or should be - wholly responsible for), the corporate tax (assuming the lottery isn't in a tax haven) and finally the income tax of the winner.

    Those who do "win" then go clinically insane (the usual fate), get harassed by "friends", family and the media until they then go insane (or broke in paying everyone to go away), or otherwise lose all of these supposed winnings due to the incredibly toxic atmosphere that revolves around lotteries.

    Of course, it could be worse. The amount spent on US elections this season has eclipsed the total spending on ALL science, research and development by the US government. A handful of degenerate media spectacles, questionably-run elections where rules have been changed after-the-fact to fix who wins, advertising filled with bile, malice and 100% fraudulent statements, and we're not even into the main part yet. How's that similar? Because it's POPULAR toxic spending, that's how. If it wasn't popular, toxic spending wouldn't happen.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:38PM (#39531171)

      The amount spent on US elections this season has eclipsed the total spending on ALL science, research and development by the US government.

      This is an inane remark on many levels. Obviously you don't have any numbers, and the claim is bullshit simply because it's ridiculous to compare a process that is largely funded by private entities with federal funding of science and R&D, while ignoring the far larger industrial R&D and scientific research. Tell me, how much do you suppose drug companies spent this year on trials? How much did Intel spend on R&D for their next processor?

      The reason elections are expensive is that they decide who makes the policies that affects almost the entire economy. (And you're conveniently vauge on whether we're talking about federal elections or state.) If anything, the problem is that the government is so all-encompassing that people feel that it encroaches on every aspect of their life. If we had a smaller government, it could just focus on a few things, like sponsoring science, rather than being everything to everyone.

      Elections are an adversarial process, whereas science is a collaborative process. Adversarial processes are, by nature, far more expensive than collaborative.

      And even if you had a clue how to compare these things, you still have no idea what's going on. The Republican primaries this season are drawn out because the primary rules were changed in response to widespread sentiment that the presidential primaries in '08 didn't produce a good candidate. So the GOP is making a major change in how it does its business to try to be more responsive to voters.

    • by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:39PM (#39531187)

      The lottery is a tax, often on the disadvantaged .....

      This. A thousand times this.

      The lottery is bad, not because it is a tax, but because it is a regressive tax. Rich people don't play the lottery, its mostly the poor, and some times the middle class. Ever notice (or at least hear jokes about) how on welfare check day people are queued up to buy tickets? It's because for many of the poor the lottery is a chance to get out of poverty. Unfortunately many of these people are poor because they don't have the education to get a well paying job. So while most ./ers realize that the lottery is a tax on people with poor math skills, guess who those people are.

      I personally find the lottery appalling. The government shouldn't be taking advantage of its own people, doubly so when it is the people that need the government's help the most!

      • by tbird81 (946205) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @01:51AM (#39532473)

        If only poor people had you making the decisions for them.

        • by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @02:22AM (#39532571)

          If only poor people had you making the decisions for them.

          If gambling was okay, then why all the heavy handed regulation? And if it is bad, why does the government do it (here in Ontario it is a government run monopoly)?

          History has repeatedly shown that the negative social impacts of gambling are just to great to be ignored. That is why it is either illegal or highly regulated everywhere in the developed world (including the freedom loving USA). And that it my issue with it.

          Basically the government is saying that gambling is so disruptive it must be made illegal for the private sector to engage in it. But on the other hand it is perfectly fine for the government to do it. Add to that here in Ontario is was illegal for decades until the government got into cash problems and didn't want to raise taxes. They already knew it was unethical but did it anyways.

          It would be like the government opening up a state run monopoly on selling marijuana after decades of it being illegal. If it is okay, then let the free market at it, if it is wrong then don't do it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bagorange (1531625)

            If it is okay, then let the free market at it, if it is wrong then don't do it.

            You forget about shades of grey.
            Total freedom to purchase and consume alcohol regardless of age and motor vehicles you are operating? - Bad Idea
            Prohibition? - "Here is your money and power, Mr Capone"
            I'd probably vote for very regulated sales of marijuana, and for prohibition of heroin.

            Regarding lotteries, they are a triumph of the 1%.
            Convince a population that progressive taxes are for the sinister unAmerican communo-nazi-muslims.

            Money still needs to come form somewhere.
            But don't worry! We can rely those

    • by TheEmperorOfSlashdot (1830272) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:47PM (#39531221)
      But this is blatantly counterfactual and indefensible:

      Of course, it could be worse. The amount spent on US elections this season has eclipsed the total spending on ALL science, research and development by the US government.

      At most a few hundred million dollars have been spent this campaign seasons. This is an absurd amount of money, but it's not even a fraction of NASA's $18.5 billion 2011 budget. NASA spending represents only a fraction of US science investment.

      • At most a few hundred million dollars have been spent this campaign seasons

        I don't think the numbers for this campaign are published yet, but in the last presidential election campaign, Obama spent $760,370,195, McCain spent $358,008,447 . That's just for the Presidential election. In addition to the Presidential campaign, the Republican and Democrat candidates spent over half a billion between them on the primaries. On top of that, there were congressional elections, where the spending was about three billion. Presumably there were local and state elections as well, with thei

    • Lotteries are not a tax! You have no choice but to pay taxes. They are unavoidable like death, stupid people, people that don't know what taxes are and those that set false expectations.
  • by FireballX301 (766274) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:12PM (#39531035) Journal
    If I stop by a convenience store or gas station and happen to see a lottery booth, I'll usually pick up a $1 quick pick.

    I fully understand that I have no chance of winning. I don't really care. A good portion of the cash goes towards the woefully underfunded public school system in my state, I consider it a fun idle activity to occasionally check winning numbers and to complain about never winning, and the $1 every so often is utterly inconsequential to me.

    Some people have problems buying huge numbers of tickets, and that's a gambling problem, but it's absurd to seriously call it a math tax. Nobody buys tickets expecting to win.
    • Not sure about the USA, but schools in the UK often run their own fundraising events. If you're buying a lottery ticket because you want to support local schools, then go along to their next event instead and spend $10 on raffle tickets. If you don't care about winning, then it's no different from buying lottery tickets, but this way 100% of the money goes to the school instead of 10%.
    • by iguana (8083) * <davep@extend[ ].com ['sys' in gap]> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @09:49AM (#39534007) Homepage Journal

      As a spouse to a public school teacher and a volunteer in said underfunded schools, the schools would be better served if you sent them the $1 (or more) directly. Then all the other hands aren't skimming off the top.

      We gave two Costco cubes of Kleenex as a Christmas gift to our school. You wouldn't believe the effusive thanks we got. Donate a box of printer paper and you'll be worshiped for a month.

      (Yes, I bought a lottery ticket yesterday anyway. No, I still have to go to work on Monday.)

  • "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon"

  • There are so many good answers on this poll. I need checkboxes to select all the options.
  • by tobiah (308208) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @12:03AM (#39532131)

    In grad school (math) I did a gig for a while going to grade schools to do math labs/shows. One of my first was on statistics, I picked up an easy lottery ticket (1/1,000 of coming out ahead) and offered it to the student who could roll the odds on a set of dice in the time I was there. I had a couple kids rolling dice obsessively during the lesson >:->

  • Why I play (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @12:15AM (#39532183) Homepage Journal

    I chipped $5 into the office lottery pool for the sole reason that I didn't want to be the one non-winner in the company.

    Reporter: Mr. JSG, how does it feel knowing that everyone you worked with is now rich and retired?
    Me: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

    Not gonna happen.

    • by Archtech (159117)

      I chipped $5 into the office lottery pool for the sole reason that I didn't want to be the one non-winner in the company.

      Not gonna happen.

      Mr. JSG, how does it feel knowing that everyone you worked with is now rich and retired?

      Not gonna happen either.

    • My reasoning is usually quite the opposite, I never play and if I have to do (*) I don't play the same number than my coworkers.

      Why? If my number is a winner, I win. If my coworkers win, they quit their job andso I win. So I just double my possibilities that way.

      (*)In Spain it is usual to sometime buy several tickets with the same number, keep one and present the others to relatives and acquitances (or inform them that you will be sharing the prize if that number is the winning). Specially with Christmas l

      • Why? If my number is a winner, I win. If my coworkers win, they quit their job andso I win. So I just double my possibilities that way.

        Well, if you hate your coworkers, I guess... But I like mine. I work with a lot of smart, fun, people. We all had a lot of fun joking about what we were going to do with our money ("I'm going to buy an island!" "Well, I'm going to buy a Kardashian."), and about half the employees in the office were in on the pool. It was really more of a camaraderie builder than anything else.

        The only people taking it remotely seriously were management who were wondering out loud what would happen if half the office quit in

    • I did the same. The pool wasn't just "people at work", they were all people *on my team*. So not only would I have been the only guy who didn't win, I'd have been stuck with all their work! Double-whammy! No way was I gonna stick around for that train wreck.

      I'm not playing to win. I'm buying very cheap insurance against my life totally sucking.

  • by cstdenis (1118589) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @12:26AM (#39532225)

    I may only have a 1 in 28,633,528 chance of having a winning ticket, but really it's the only realistic chance I'll ever have to get $50 million.

    Anyway I can afford to occasionally gamble the $5 for the minuscule chance of that $50 million.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      I may only have a 1 in 28,633,528 chance of having a winning ticket, but really it's the only realistic chance I'll ever have to get $50 million.

      Anyway I can afford to occasionally gamble the $5 for the minuscule chance of that $50 million.

      If those are the odds, and a game cost $5, and you could win over $500M, then buying a lottery ticket starts to make statistical sense. I don't know anything about the lottery in question though... are those the actual odds or just a number you made up for illustrative purposes?

  • by wanderfowl (2534492) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @02:09AM (#39532521)

    Actually buying a lottery ticket does not significantly improve your chances of winning, if you're being realistic. But as long as you know that, if it's something that brings you joy, rock on.

    • by tgeek (941867)
      A "not zero" chance is a VERY significant improvement over a "zero" chance. The exact percentage of improvement is #DIV/0!
      • by itsdapead (734413)

        A "not zero" chance is a VERY significant improvement over a "zero" chance.

        You keep using that word "significant" - I do not think that it means what you think that it means.

        sig-nif-i-cant:
        Adjective:
        1. Sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention; noteworthy.
        2. Having a particular meaning; indicative of something.

        So the question is not whether 1/14,000,000 > 0, but whether 1/14,000,000 >> p where p is the combined probability of you inheriting a fortune from a long-lost relative, finding an 1979 Apple share certificate in your granddad's attic, getting a $1M settlement after walking into a glass door at an Apple Store, the bank accidentally crediting your account with $1Billion and paying you off to keep quie

        • So the question is not whether 1/14,000,000 > 0, but whether 1/14,000,000 >> p where p is the combined probability of you inheriting a fortune from a long-lost relative, finding an 1979 Apple share certificate in your granddad's attic, getting a $1M settlement after walking into a glass door at an Apple Store, the bank accidentally crediting your account with $1Billion and paying you off to keep quiet, discovering that the dollar that you were about to spend on a lottery ticket is a rare 1976 bill with Washington's head on back-to-front, dropping dead so that your family could cash in on your life insurance, or otherwise suddenly getting rich.

          .

          Considering that the original point was "Actually buying a lottery ticket does not significantly improve your chances of winning" not "...does not significantly improve you chances of getting a windfall", your point is moot.

  • by Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @02:53AM (#39532655)
    Lotteries represent hope.

    It is that tiny possibility of becoming financially independent that makes the idea of lotteries so appealing.
    It is sacrificing that cup of coffee each week for a chance to gain riches.
    Despite your failures, your limitations, your lost dreams;
    no matter how bad a life you have led, no matter how many bridges you've burned, you could still make it.
    • by Twinbee (767046)
      Yes, what a lot of people miss is that the "curve of happiness" isn't necessarily a linear one with respect to money.

      Even if the odds are massively stacked against you, the win can become disproportionately better than what it would suggest relative to its actual worth. One million would be enough though - I think studies suggest anything higher than that does almost nothing to improve happiness further.
    • by PPH (736903)

      Lotteries represent hope.

      Which is dashed every week.

      Better to base hope on something over which you have some control and that has reasonable odds of paying off.

      The way you teach people to achieve is to have them set a goal and then break the steps toward it into small, easier steps. Accomplishing each one reinforces the idea that they can make progress toward something. That's far better for building self esteem than repeatedly losing a buck on the Big Payoff.

    • Not hope but false hope http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/False_hope/ [rationalwiki.org]

      • by urusan (1755332)

        I'm no fan of lotteries, but come on. The wiki page you linked to says "False hope is hope built entirely around a fantasy, a hope that has no knowable chance of coming to fruition." This simply isn't true, at least as long as the lottery isn't a fraudulent one.

  • Dream Catalyst (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tgeek (941867) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @05:58AM (#39533169)
    I (and most people I know) don't dream about being filthy rich, probably because there's zero chance it's going to happen. But for the occasional price of a $1 lottery ticket, all that changes -- even my most devoutly rational and conservative friends will start coming up with "if I win . . ." scenarios -- regardless of the minute chance of winning. Pretty cheap entertainment for the price of a candy bar.

    I'll admit though I don't get why people buy more than 1 ticket for a drawing. The odds are so long that winning takes some kind of karmic or divine intervention. And if the Good Lord (my choice) is going to bless you, it's gonna happen whether you have 1 ticket or 1000.
    • by urusan (1755332)

      I have those fantasies too, but I phrase them as "if I bought a ticket and won..." and then don't buy a ticket.

  • by Nationless (2123580) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:46AM (#39533707)

    The most fun I can have trying to beat impossible odds for only a dollar.

    Random numbers and only very occasionally. Using specific set of numbers is a psychological death trap as you can never stop playing or miss a week in case your "set" wins.

  • Then you can save money and say you're using it for dieting. I love to say gambling is a tax on stupidity, but really while spending additional dollars does seem rather well... stupid. Buying a single lottery ticket seems a rather harmless loss of front pocket money once a week, and even if it's a tiny chance of a life changing gigantic windfall?
  • I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this already, but there was a Sliders episode with a lottery used to choose who dies: http://sliders.wikia.com/wiki/Luck_of_the_Draw [wikia.com]

If imprinted foil seal under cap is broken or missing when purchased, do not use.

 



Forgot your password?
Working...