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Anything for a buck

I've always believed in the old aphorism that lotteries are "a tax on people who can't do math." The odds of winning are so astronomical, and you don't even have the consolation of "well, SOMEONE has to win" -- weeks and months can go by without a winner.

Nonetheless, I still occasionally drop a buck or five every couple of months or so. I figure I'm going to blow the money anyway, and I tell myself that at least the money goes (partly) to public education.

Last week, though, I noticed something new on the lottery ticket. More specifically, an advertisement.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission is co-sponsoring a "replay" for losing tickets with "Movie Scene."

I didn't think I could be dumbfounded by the lengths marketers would go to, but this has gotta take the cake...


Comments (18)

I see a lottery as more a t... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

I see a lottery as more a tax on stupidity, with a random chance for a rebate. I also find that the time I can spend thinking about what I would do differently if I won makes it one of the best entertainment dollar values around.

I just consider lottery tic... (Below threshold)
cirby:

I just consider lottery tickets to be a dollar's worth of dreaming.

I diversify my retirement d... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

I diversify my retirement dollars. I put most of it in a 401K and the rest in the lottery. So I have short term and long term retirement goals.

Why don't y'all just preten... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Why don't y'all just pretend you bought a ticket then you can waste your time dreaming without wasting your money.......

Mark:Because that'... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Mark:

Because that's cheating.

Odds of winning if you don'... (Below threshold)
Headzero:

Odds of winning if you don't buy a ticket - zero
Odds of winning if you do buy a ticket - 1 in 146,107,962.

I'd say your odds are infinitly better if you waste the dollar..............

And thos that carp about it being a waste - do you save every penny? Did you buy cigarettes this week? Or a beer? Or a soda? Or a stick of gum? How much did that small expenditure go towards you being able to not have to worry about having to work for the rest of your life? The odss of the lottery ticket beat all of those too, but no one is jumping down your throat about how you waste YOUR money so stuff it. 2 bucks a week is less than a beer, or a half a pack of cigarettes, its half the price of a happy meal - and do you really feel happy after it or is it just a waste too?

I can honestly say that I f... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I can honestly say that I feel really happy after a Happy Meal. Especially if the toy is a particularly good one.

And I drop a buck now and then - but I usually do it on a scratch ticket. I figure my odds are better - even if it's for much less money.

Headzero,You are r... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

Headzero,

You are right that going from 0 to 1 lottery tickets substantially increases your odds of winning. But going from 1 to 2 tickets is a much lower percentage increase in winning.

I think it's just like anyt... (Below threshold)
meep:

I think it's just like anything people spend their money on. I think it's dumb to spend hundreds of dollars on an obsolete piece of technology (i.e., a wristwatch), but some people get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I see nothing wrong with people spend a couple bucks on the lottery each week.

It's when they're spending the milk money that it's nuts.

State lotteries. Reason #23... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

State lotteries. Reason #23 why I play poker.

At least I have some control over how much I win or lose.

As someone in marketing, I gotta say, yeah, this is plain odd.

I'd say your odds... (Below threshold)
Mike:
I'd say your odds are infinitly better if you waste the dollar..............

Infinitely better but still horrendously lousy...

Better is a relative term. Having a root canal done without anesthesia is better than having a root canal done without anesthesia while listening to Fran Drescher read the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report aloud over a megaphone... 1" from your ear.

Personally, the only lottery I'm playing is Social Security... and that's not by choice.

yetanotherjohn - 2 drawings... (Below threshold)
Headzero:

yetanotherjohn - 2 drawings a week, hence the 2 dollars. I never spend more than 1 dollar per drawing. I never expect to win either, but without playing I know 100% that I will never win.

All Oregon Lottery ads have... (Below threshold)

All Oregon Lottery ads have a disclaimer at the end: (something to the effect of) "the lottery should not be played as an investment". Duh. But I'm sure it's there because somebody claimed that and SURPRISE! lost all their money. I only play a couple of bucks when the payoff exceeds the statistical odds of winning (over $146 mil).

"Odds of winning if you don... (Below threshold)
JadePhilosopher:

"Odds of winning if you don't buy a ticket - zero"

Not true at all. There is a non-zero probability that you will FIND a ticket. The odds of finding an unplayed lottery ticket is actually significantly HIGHER than the odds of winning with a ticket.

Therefore, the odds of winning the lottery with a single ticket are not substantially altered by not buying a ticket, and dreaming about winning without playing is therefore not cheating.

The odds of being struck by... (Below threshold)
Matt:

The odds of being struck by lightning are about the same as winning a lottery ticket. However we still ground houses, use lightning rods, and practice safety if caught outside in a thunderstorm.

By a ticket, have fun with the possibilities, shrug and move on when the ticket is a loser.

Well, I've nearly been hit ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Well, I've nearly been hit by lightning twice, so I must be due, one way or another.

Better is a relative ter... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Better is a relative term. Having a root canal done without anesthesia is better than having a root canal done without anesthesia while listening to Fran Drescher read the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report aloud over a megaphone... 1" from your ear.

Now, that's comedy!

Not true at all. There is a non-zero probability that you will FIND a ticket. The odds of finding an unplayed lottery ticket is actually significantly HIGHER than the odds of winning with a ticket.
Therefore, the odds of winning the lottery with a single ticket are not substantially altered by not buying a ticket, and dreaming about winning without playing is therefore not cheating.

Now, that is almost Douglas Adams-eque in logical thinking.

Now, all you need is a good Brownian Motion Detector...say, a good hot cup of tea...

I fully support the lottery... (Below threshold)
Tim:

I fully support the lottery - it's a great way to get the poor to pay their share of taxes. And if someone happens to win, they get taxed again. It's a win-win situation.




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