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Why The Mega Millions Jackpot Is Nothing But Another Tax On America's Poor

Tyler Durden's picture


Now that the Mega Millions Jackpot has just hit a record $640 million, people, mostly those in the lower and middle classes, are coming out in droves and buying lottery tickets with hopes of striking it rich. After all, with $640 million one can even afford a few shares of Apple stock. Naturally, we wish the lucky winner all the (non-diluted) best. There is, however, a small problem here when one steps back from the Sino Forest trees. As ConvergEx' Nicholas Colas explains, "Lotteries essentially target and encourage lower-income individuals into a cycle that directly prevents them from improving their financial status and leverages their desire to escape poverty.  Yes, that’s a bit harsh, and yes, people have the right to make their own decisions.  Even bad ones…  Also, many people tend to significantly overestimate the odds of winning because we tend to assess the likelihood of an event occurring based on how frequently we hear about it happening.  The technical name for this is the Availability Heuristic, which means the more we hear about big winners in the press, the less uncommon a big payday begins to seem." Call it that, or call it what one wishes, the end result is that the lottery is nothing but society's perfectly efficient way of, to use a term from the vernacular, keeping the poor man down while dangling hopes and dreams of escaping into the world of the loathsome and oh so very detested "1% ers". Alas, the probability of the latter happening to "you" is virtually non-existant.

Full explanation from Nick Colas on how and why Americans are lining up in lines around the block to... pay more taxes.

What Seems To Be Is Always Better than Nothing

Summary: American adults spent an average of $251 on lottery tickets last year.  With a return of 53 cents on the dollar, this means the average person threw away $118 on unsuccessful lotto tickets – not a great investment.  So why are we spending so much?  Well, lotteries are a fun, cheap opportunity to daydream about the possibility of becoming an overnight millionaire, but on the flip side people tend to overestimate the odds of winning.  Lower-income demographics spend a much greater portion of their annual earnings on lottery tickets than do wealthier ones.  Since lotteries are state-run, that effectively means that the less affluent pay more in taxes (albeit by choice) than broadly appreciated.  And even winning the lottery doesn’t guarantee financial success.  More than 5% of lottery winners declare bankruptcy within 5 years of taking home the jackpot.  Despite their drawbacks, though, lotteries are no doubt here for the long haul – in states that have lotteries, an average of 11% of their total revenues come from lottery ticket sales, and the number is even as high as 36% in 2 states (West Virginia and Michigan).
Note from Nick: Daydreams may be the best example of a product in an inflationary spiral; the price of a Powerball lottery ticket went from $1 to $2 on January 1st.  That news got me thinking about the price elasticity of fantasies.  After all, the state lottery commissions involved in this venture must believe that a 100% price bump will not deter enough customers to lower their overall take.  That’s a big gamble (pun intended) to take on what is an increasingly important revenue input for many state budgets.  Beth takes up the story from here…
Consider the following credit-card-advertisement style sequence of statistics:

  • Lottery ticket sales in the US in 2010:  $59 billion
  • Average spending per person:  $191
  • Average spending per adult:  $251
  • Chance at hitting the jackpot:  (Apparently) priceless.

I have never bought a lottery ticket and honestly don’t even know how.  And as far as I’m aware, I don’t know anyone who spends north of 200 bucks a year playing the lotto.  The only lottery my friends play is the NYC marathon lottery, where they’re gambling for maybe a 1 in 13 chance to fork over $255 for the privilege of slugging out 26 miles through the city’s streets.  Not quite hitting the jackpot in most people’s minds. 
But someone, somewhere is buying all those tickets.  In Massachusetts, where the lottery is more popular than in any other state, people spend an average of $634 a year on Mega Millions, Powerball and the like.  Delaware comes in at number 2 with $504 spent per person, while Rhode Island ($469), West Virginia ($388) and New York ($357) round out the top 5.  North Dakota brings up the rear with per capita lottery spending of $34.  You can see the full list in the table following the text. 
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who is investing so much money in a product that provides poor returns, but numerous studies show that lower-income people spend a much greater proportion of their earnings on lotteries than do wealthier people.  One figure suggests that households making less than $13,000 a year spend a full 9 percent of their income on lotteries.  This of course makes no sense – poor people should be the least willing to waste their hard-earned cash on games with such terrible odds of winning. (
Why bother?  Well, one answer is obvious enough and applies to just about everyone who plays.  For a buck (now $2 for Powerball) we have a cheap opportunity to daydream what could happen if we suddenly won millions of dollars.  But lotteries return 53 cents to the dollar.  So why are poor people irrationally buying tickets when the probability of winning is so slim?  One study by a team of Carnegie Mellon University behavioral economists (Haisley, Mostafa and Loewenstein) suggests it isn’t being poor but rather feeling poor that compels people to purchase lotto tickets.
By influencing participants’ perceptions of their relative wealth, the researchers found that people who felt poor bought almost two times as many lottery tickets as those who were made to feel more affluent.  Here’s how they did it:

  • Participants were asked to complete a survey that included an item on annual income.  One group was asked to provide its income on a scale that began at “less than $100,000” and went up from there in increments of $100,000.  It was designed so that most respondents would be in the lowest category and therefore feel poor. 
  • The other group, made to feel subjectively wealthier, was asked to report income on a scale that began with “less than $10,000” and increased in $10,000 increments.  Therefore most participants were in a middle or upper tier.
  • All participants were paid $5 for participating in the survey and given the chance to buy up to 5 $1 scratch-off lottery tickets.  The group who felt wealthier bought 0.67 tickets on average, compared with 1.27 tickets for the group who felt poor.

Lotteries essentially target and encourage lower-income individuals into a cycle that directly prevents them from improving their financial status and leverages their desire to escape poverty.  Yes, that’s a bit harsh, and yes, people have the right to make their own decisions.  Even bad ones…  Also, many people tend to significantly overestimate the odds of winning because we tend to assess the likelihood of an event occurring based on how frequently we hear about it happening.  The technical name for this is the Availability Heuristic, which means the more we hear about big winners in the press, the less uncommon a big payday begins to seem.   
Not that hitting the jackpot is guaranteed to substantially improve the winner’s life.  Economists at the University of Kentucky, University of Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt University collected data from 35,000 lottery winners of up to $150,000 in Florida’s Fantasy 5 lottery from 1993 to 2002.  Their findings are as follows:

  • More than 1,900 winners declared bankruptcy within 5 years, implying that 1% of Florida lottery players (both winners and losers) go bankrupt in any given year, which is about twice the rate for the broader population.
  • “Big” lottery winners, those awarded between $50,000 and $150,000 were half as likely as smaller winners to go bankrupt within 2 years of their win, however equally likely to go bankrupt 3 to 5 years after.
  • 5.5% of lottery winners declared bankruptcy within 5 years of bringing home the jackpot.
  • The average award for the big winners was $65,000 – more than enough to pay off the $49,000 in unsecured debt of the most financially distressed winners.

Lottery players tend to have below-average incomes, so they are probably less accustomed to budgeting when they receive a windfall.  There’s also a psychological term called Mental Accounting that explains how people might treat their winnings less cautiously than money they’ve worked for.  Money has come into their possession through luck, which similar to bonus payments, often induces an urge to purchase unnecessary items.
But whether you think state lotteries are awful or great, there’s another word for them: essentialIn both West Virginia and Michigan, for example, lottery sales accounted for 36% of total state revenues in fiscal year 2010, and on average state with lotteries take in 11% of total revenues in the form of lotto ticket sales.  We’ve included the full list in a table following the text.  There are still 7 states that don’t have their own lottery systems, so the national average would be lower. 
A couple of closing thoughts on what this all means:

  • Don’t make investment decisions when you are feeling poor.  The study we cited earlier clearly shows that you are likely to buy more “lottery tickets” (think of that as a metaphor for any long shot investment) when you feel less affluent than those around you.
  • Lower income individuals likely pay more in “Taxes” than most economic commentators realize.  Assuming that the 80/20 rule applies to lottery participation, the bulk of that $59 billion in annual receipts likely comes from 20-25 million less affluent households.  That would be about $47 billion from this demographic, or roughly $2,400 per household.  Yes, I get the notion that this money is handed over in the hope of a payoff.  An ill-advised and mathematically unlikely hope, as it turns out.  But does that mean it doesn’t count as a societal contribution?
  • Maybe the U.S. needs a national lottery.  Yes, these games don’t necessarily encourage the best financial planning among the less affluent.  But there is no denying that playing the lottery is entirely voluntary.  There are probably some anti-gaming factions in government who wouldn’t like this approach, to be sure.  But there’s also no doubt that the Federal budget could use the money.  And, hey, you never know…


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Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:14 | 2303932 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture


Did you buy a ticket?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:17 | 2303946 fightthepower
fightthepower's picture

I'm a 1%er, I'll still buy $10 worth. 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304015 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

In college, my calc professor told the class one day "the lottery is a game for people who suck at math".

Pretty much sums it up.



Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:33 | 2304061 fightthepower
fightthepower's picture

Your professor doen't get it.  It isn't an investment, its entertainment. 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:43 | 2304111 SilverTree
SilverTree's picture

Is that an inflation adjusted lotto jackpot record?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:54 | 2304164 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Good god man I remember when NY state Lottery started and they barely hit a million payout.

Then in the 90's lotteries started jumping into the high millions, 40/50/60. Then 100 million.

Now nearly billions.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:06 | 2304231 ReallySparky
ReallySparky's picture

I plan on breaking the COMEX when I win. Going to empty it out. 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:23 | 2304285 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



When I win I am going to buy this for $349,000.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:06 | 2304441 optimator
optimator's picture

I'd spend more and get something a little larger and more distictive, like a used 1939 Mercedes 770K. 

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 07:15 | 2306008 rcintc
rcintc's picture

I would by 3,787lbs. of gold

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 11:43 | 2306255 edwardscpa
edwardscpa's picture

'Bout time the poor started paying their fair share.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:30 | 2304319 tmosley
tmosley's picture

You will want to amass a significant stockpile first, as you may simply be MFG'ed.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:39 | 2304355 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Sorry to tell you but it's already been emptied out.  Plenty of paper gold for you though.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:06 | 2304442 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

In college I had a math professor that claimed he could prove your chances of winning the lottery were exactly zero, though I missed how he came to that conclusion, yet for the odds being exactly zero there sure a lot of people who have won the prizes. 

And then again Tyler may be on to something, I could take that $20 I paid for a chance to dream about financial security and invest it in PIMCO's new fund instead, ye HAW!  Let the good times roll.  Oh wait, financial advisors require a minimum of $1,000 mostly to open an account with them. 

Gasoline is up $1.30 here in eight weeks, food up 25% in a year, if I do not play a few bucks on the lottery I will not even be able to dream about better times, calling it storing mental fat for the long winter we are entering in western civilization. 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:47 | 2304122 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

1%er almost looks like loser.

Utah, new home of the NSA and a lot of other fine companies like Goldman Sachs, is not on the list thanks to theocracy. Everyone take a shot.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:50 | 2304150 Joe Davola
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I view it as being no different than buying a ticket to a movie - you plop down approximately the same amount and live a fantasy for a few hours.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:17 | 2304467 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Unless you go see "The Hunger Games"... Then you're probably talking about a reality show...

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:23 | 2304480 Paladin en passant
Paladin en passant's picture

Exactly.  And it's a way to generate revenue from the 49.99% who pay nothing into the tax system of the country. Harmless fun. 

Why does it seem there's always a progressive Calvinist around who's horrified someone might be spending their own money on something they enjoy?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 19:20 | 2305233 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

have to agree - anyone who is "horrified" about people voluntarily parting with a dollar or two, then maybe indulging in a couple minutes of fantasy as to what they might do with a huge lump sum of monies is a snob, IMO.

I have never bought a lottery ticket and honestly don’t even know how.

how very precious - translate: I'm way to clever to do what the lesser people do. . . give me a break - how much do people pay for sexual kicks 'n' favours?  don't see anyone wagging a finger at that indulgence. . . or a meal out in the upper range prices, or booze, ciggies, I could go on.

a lottery ticket is a completely harmless daydream, and anyone who takes it seriously - like "investing" in the "stock markets" ^^ - is being subject to a stupid tax more than a "poor tax" - trading fiat paper for a Powerball slip of the same - priceless.

disclosure:  I indulge when the jackpots go silly numbers, one ticket only, based on a belief that if it's gonna happen, one ticket will do it - if not (most likely), then it's just a buck, harmless.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 19:05 | 2305214 batterycharged
batterycharged's picture

I play the lottery with $1 and celebrate when I lose. 

It confirms my belief that rare events are statistically improbable, so sure I may lose $350 billion dollars, but on the other hand I won't die from a lightning strike or get eaten by a shark.

It's a trade off I'm willing to make. Thank god for predictability.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:52 | 2304157 Randall Cabot
Randall Cabot's picture

The MarketWatch pumpers are psyopping the Lottery with the stock market today, they had a similar headline earlier:


The rally of 2012
You have to be in it to win it

U.S. stocks' stellar performance so far in 2012 is remarkable in part for the anemic trading volumes that have accompanied Wall Street’s rise, and those on the sidelines, as with the lottery, stand no chance.



Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:17 | 2304252 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture




If you drive 1 mile to the party store to buy a lottery ticket, then drive 1 mile back, the chances of you getting killed in a car wreck is greater than hitting the jackpot – Good Luck.


And yes, I'm buying one.



Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:56 | 2304419 Doomer
Doomer's picture

Your calc prof should have studied statistics:

'Lucky' woman who won lottery four times outed as Stanford University statistics PhD



Fri, 03/30/2012 - 18:35 | 2305135 DorseyCecil68669
DorseyCecil68669's picture

my friend's aunt makes $72/hr on the internet. She has been without work for six months but last month her payment was $19183 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here's the site to read more .....

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 20:50 | 2305393 monoloco
monoloco's picture

Yep, your odds of winning are about the same whether you buy a ticket or not.

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 07:14 | 2305998 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



This is a post-lotto posting.

On Thurs, ZHers here were explaining that it was worth it to "systemically attack" the lotto by buying tix when the payout value exceeded the number of combinations.  Here is the tally:

Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sum and around $347 million after federal tax withholding. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $171 million less if your state also withholds taxes.

And so, if you do the math, the after-FED-tax value of $347M is reduced by state taxes of $171M to net...wait for it...$176 million.  So the tax code on the lotto forces it to be no better than a push.

But we'll all take the $176M, so it was worth the few fiats, right?  So let's go back to the top line: $1.5 billion "spent."  So the net proceeds to the "winner" taps out at $176 million on a top line of $1.5 billion.  And so I get back to my core question: what would the wealth effect be if there were no lotteries?

I'm expecting no replies because y'all were the one winner...

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 23:45 | 2305647 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Yeah, well, your professor is an idiot. Anyone even vaguely familiar with the concept of "Expected Value" knows that, with a jackpot of $640 million, Mega Millions is a screaming buy. Here's a simple example; a friend says let's play a game - we roll a die. If it comes up 6, you get $5, otherwise i get $1, and we have to play 24 times. This is a "fair" game - your expectation is exactly zero. On average, you'll win 4 times ($20), and lose 20 (-$20). If he changes it to $6 when you win, but still only $1 when you lose, you should play every chance you get, as your net expectation is now $0.13 per roll (win 24/lose 20).

Now, for Megamillions, assuming 40% tax rate:

Chance of winning 1/176 million   Value of win: $384 million (after tax)   Expectation: 384/176 =$2.15

But there are also secondary prizes. Chance of second prize ~ 1/4 million, value $250,000, Expectation = $0.06

The other prizes for matching 3,4 numbers are smaller, but the total expectation per $1 ticket is about $2.25 when the jackpot is this high.

In other words, when the jackpot is low, playing more than one ticket (for the entertainment/fantasy value) is not a good idea. Far better to save your cash for when the jackpot exceeds $175 million after tax, and then plunk down $20. You still probably won't win, but at least the math is on your side.

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 07:19 | 2306011 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Should be that way...but it isn't.  See my post above.

The lottery is a voluntary tax based on false hope.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:44 | 2304121 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

buying twenty and i'm a 1%er


buying them of my own accord before they are mandated in the Obamalottery bill which states, since everyone will need money at some point in their lives, they will be forced to purchase a shot at winning said moneys

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:46 | 2304130 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

forgot to mention that i was mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear last saturday, so i'm feelin' lucky

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:33 | 2304518 TuesdayBen
TuesdayBen's picture

blotto after hours at the zoo again, eh?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:56 | 2304178 Floordawg
Floordawg's picture

A 1%er with the name "fightthepower."

What power are you fighting?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:19 | 2304472 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

the power of the dick that was shoved down his throat to join the "1% club"...

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:31 | 2304510 TuesdayBen
TuesdayBen's picture

I believe he meant: "[If/when] I'm a 1%er, I'll still buy $10 worth.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:08 | 2304240 overbet
overbet's picture

With this much spending on tickets will this affect retail sales data?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 19:21 | 2305235 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

If I were a socialist I`d encourage lotteries. They run full square counter to entrepreneurship and thus discourage risk taking in a sensible way, gambling and criminal conduct intertwined , the victim would invest into a so called public company without regret or remorse and would since be ruled by a group of chairman or politburo .

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:25 | 2303982 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

if you're stupid enough to support a moronic pernicious system, then go ahead and by some tickets. and en route buy a fucking happy meal. the only thing resembling a vote in these dire times is a vote with your dwindling fiat dollar.

oh and you still get TAXED on your winnings motherfucking-a sheer insanity is what we tacitly agree to!

let be be the finale of seem

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:28 | 2304026 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Practically speaking, you are correct but winning would still be wonderful thing.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:32 | 2304039 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

sure why not and shitting out a $650M happy meal induced solid gold egg would be wonderful too!

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:48 | 2304140 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Indeed it would be.  What's better are those who are standing in line for more than an hour waiting to make a lottery donation.  That's stupid to a stupid power.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:28 | 2304497 duo
duo's picture

The lottery looks better than gold and silver miners right now.  Just sayin'.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:33 | 2304517 vato poco
vato poco's picture

All the above is surely true: sucker bait, tax on dumbshits, odds are about the same whether you buy a ticket or not. True True True.

But What The Fuck. I'm still buying $10.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:32 | 2304052 beaker
beaker's picture

At least it is voluntary....

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:34 | 2304063 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

true but i prefer to fire up my crack stem 'fore i pick my numbers!

meet me at the golden arches motherfucker!

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:54 | 2304839 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

At least it is voluntary....


Compulsive gamblers would say it used to be...

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:18 | 2304265 overbet
overbet's picture

You are about 50 times more likely to get struck by lightning than winning the lottery, based on the 90 people a year getting struck by lightning.


Based on other U.S. averages, you're about 8,000 times more likely to be murdered than to win the lottery, and about 20,000 times more likely to die in a car crash than hit the lucky numbers, Catalano said.


You're about 100 times more likely to die of a flesh-eating bacteria than you are to win the lottery.


The only trick there is that you can't increase your odds of winning. But if you do win, you can increase the odds that you're the only one who wins. In other words, you don't have to share the jackpot. And the way to do that is to pick uncommon numbers. Many people tend to pick birthdays, favorite numbers, and these tend to be small. The numbers that you can pick for Mega Millions go as high as 56. But, of course, dates only go as high as 31. People tend to pick odd numbers more than even numbers. So, even numbers larger than 31 are less common. But, again, whatever strategy you pick for choosing your numbers doesn't increase your odds of winning.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:20 | 2304473 Tator
Tator's picture

"you're about 8,000 times more likely to be murdered than to win the lottery,"


But there is a 80% chance the murderer will be wearing a hoodie.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:21 | 2304476 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

  But if you do win, you can increase the odds that you're the only one who wins.

Just run the same numbers multiple times on your ticket, that way you'll have multiple "shares" and get more than anyone else you have to share with.


Seriously, though: "gambling" in general could be considered a tax on the stupid, except that for many people, it's entertainment, something like video games or movies or whatever.  For certain I never see high-earning guys in suits lined up in the bodega buying dozens of scratch-off tickets at a time, but they may well be able to fly to Vegas and engage in basically the same activity.  What would I care?

What is certainly true, and in my view problematic, is that if you structure society in such a way that job devotion and experience and detailed knowledge are not REWARDED, you end up with a lot of people hating their jobs and doing shitty work.  Sure, prices may be lower, but quality may suffer.

There's nothing healthy about people's only real hope for a better future to be tied up in winning lotteries, or winning big lawsuit payouts, or whatever.  Everything about our corruption is largely an outgrowth of a concerted effort to drive down wages over the past several decades.

Fuck it.

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 00:02 | 2305688 Xkwisetly Paneful
Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Next time go with the buzzword inclusion as in doubling the workforce with the inclusion of women was not supposed to effect wages if one was a ardent reader of the zerobrains posts on the bathroom stalls in the early 70's.  Lump of labor fallacy was written with sharpie above call this number for a BJ.

What is certainly true, and in my view problematic, is that if you structure society in a way that  there is boundless opportunity, but continually face the earth is flat crowd you will never win.


thanks for playing.



Sat, 03/31/2012 - 14:49 | 2306606 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

What's your native language?

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 04:26 | 2304495 LuKOsro
LuKOsro's picture

If an anti-hero for Robin Hood were created it would have been called Mr. Lottery man. 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:16 | 2304714 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

And based on another U.S. averages, you're about 1,000 times more likely to kill your own child than to win the lottery.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:40 | 2304561 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

If "the poor" were not subsidized so much, they wouldn't be able to piss money away on cig and lotteries.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:17 | 2304705 TeMpTeK
TeMpTeK's picture

Ill bet Jon Corzine miraculously wins the next 4 megas in a row... Poof!.. 


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 18:48 | 2305182 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

Even long before I started to read Nietzsche , I got down hard and plain on lotteries : A desire on something for nothing, ergo criminal intend. Bank robbery versus playing in the lottery ? Cowardice for the latter , guilty on both charges, just too lazy to rob a bank.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 19:35 | 2305264 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

I bought my tickets and are also in a pool for more at work.  I tell you if I win the big jackpot I would givemy immediate family members 20 million a piece.  Then I would retire and go buy a home on the shores of a ocean in Florida or one of the Carolina's.  I would by the cars and make my live comfortable.  Then I would donate to a local food pantry because thats a good thing to do.  I would wake up anytime I want workout when I wakeup eat good food and have no care in the world.

Then as a challenge and a goal, I would bang every pornstar/playboy model/model/ABCD actress who escorts UTR (under the radar) or above just to say I was with her and have a picture with he.  It would be my weekend fund almost weekly.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:14 | 2303933 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Of course the lottery is just a scam and a tax on the poor...1 winner and millions pay in, and the payout is even taxed out the ass. I wish I could run a lottery, collect $100 million in a week, pay out 1/10th of that...great gig if youre a govt criminal and can run it.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304010 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Is there just one winner?  I would expect there would be multiple winners on the next drawing given the number of tickets sold.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:03 | 2304653 Burnbright
Burnbright's picture

Regardless if their are multiple winners their is only one pay out.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:15 | 2303940 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

It also skews local economies.

Chicago did a study and found that after 5 years the people lose interest in lottery and then the lottery org has to increase the advertising budget to keep interest up, which reduces payout for education etc.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:56 | 2304845 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

which reduces payout for education etc.


Can we call it what it is - a transfer payment from (mostly) those that can't afford it to lottery commission beaurocrats and school administrators (and by extension, the teachers' union bosses)?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:16 | 2303941 Jason T
Jason T's picture

OT but worth paying attention too as US$ days are numbered..

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:12 | 2304249 BeerBrewer09
BeerBrewer09's picture

Why would anyone junk this? It's clear that other nations don't want to buy and sell things in a debauched currency.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:16 | 2303942 DeltaCharlie
DeltaCharlie's picture

Yes, a tax on the poor, Tyler, but also the STUPID!  160mil to one?!! 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304012 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

"Yes, a tax on the poor, Tyler, but also the STUPID!"

Here, let me fix that for ya':

A tax on the STUPID.  There.  Anyone can waste their money on a system guaranteed to NOT pay out more than it takes in.

I have seen this lame diatribe before.  Folks, anything the lower wage earners spend money on will be at a higher percentage to their income.  Duh..

How about, "Low Wage Earners Spend Higher Percentage Of Income On Smokes and Booze" for a grabber headline too?  Kinda makes it sound like those higher in the wage brackets don't imbibe or smoke.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:12 | 2304462 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

I really had to snort a few times when I saw this tax on the poor/stupid bullshit, I might blow a fiver on the lottery which gives me in return a great many hours of dreaming about financial security, and some here say that a tax on the stupid, in the meanwhile how much did they donate to a church or the GOP?  And they call ME stupid?  And I do not pray to their god for a win for the same reason I don't go camping with Paul Bunyan. 

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 00:03 | 2305693 Xkwisetly Paneful
Xkwisetly Paneful's picture


Paypaling RP was +EV just ask around.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:16 | 2303944 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Now that the Mega Millions Jackpot has just hit a record $640 million, people, mostly those in the lower and middle classes, are coming out in droves

Uh no. EVERYONE is playing this lottery. TMZ ran a story about some celebrity that dropped over $700 on lotto tickets (over the last drawing)

Your odds are probably worse than getting hit by lightening while holding a can of shit, but you have to buy at least one ticket, I don't care who you are.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:21 | 2303975 lemonobrien
lemonobrien's picture

someone gotta win.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:26 | 2304005 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

If no one wins it this time I bet the next time it would hit a bil.

That would be nuts.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:31 | 2304040 lemonobrien
lemonobrien's picture

that would be cool.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:31 | 2304044 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

Odds surely favor a winner this time around but I assume there are probably a few combinations that won't get played.

My guess is that we'll see multiple winners of the jackpot so that $640M won't look so good when it's split up into a number of

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:14 | 2304255 BeerBrewer09
BeerBrewer09's picture

I'm only handing over my $5 to get a chance to trade all those FRNs for 250+ tons of silver. Send J.P. to the Morgue.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:29 | 2304500 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

SIK, odds do favor a winner this time, but they did last time also.  The few combinations that don't get played at all have exactly the same odds as those that do.  Any six numbers can lose. 

Still, anything that gets the mentally sedentary to think about such things as statistics has to have some redeeming value.  I know I have thought a lot about the nature of statistics and just plain old mysteries of the universe in regard to the lottery.  For example, what is it in the human mind that tells them 7-19-33-36-44 and a mega of 15 somehow have a better chance of coming up as winning numbers than 1-2-3-4-5 with mega of 6?  Statistically they have the same odds.  As for sharing the win with others, I could look at that as a disappointment if I wanted to should it happen to me, or I could decide to be thankful for my luck AND theirs. 

Still, the dreams I have built around a possible win require at my current age a cash value after taxes of $30 mil minimum, so I will not play until it reaches a value that will leave me that much if I won.  I only play a little then and the money I save by not playing when the pot is small is money I can blow without mental discord when it gets really huge. 

The good thing about it all is that it is not a tax, by definition a tax is compulsory, this is no more a tax than deciding to head over to Tinsletown and lay out $20 for a movie and popcorn with a soda, except a movie does not give me half the fun for days that the lottery does. 

And if people really wanted to point out how slim your odds are then I in turn want to point out that they have already "won" against other MUCH higher odds just being here, had that deformed slower sperm not ended up going south on their mamas legs just think where they would be.  :)  That alone was one in about 250,000,000.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:41 | 2304793 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

I think some of that slower sperm made it.  How else do you explain Tim Geithner?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:30 | 2304037 Vagabond
Vagabond's picture

I'm not buying shit.  Lottery tickets are for people who like to gamble with losing odds.  Stop paying attention to the circus.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:31 | 2304045 lemonobrien
lemonobrien's picture

you gonna buy stocks instead?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:58 | 2304193 Vagabond
Vagabond's picture

land, metals, and for my entertainment I buy weed and booze.  Fuck the lottery.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:35 | 2304528 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

Why buy a $1 lottery ticket when you can buy a lemon to suck for $0.79?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:43 | 2304578 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

^aight you made me lol

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:16 | 2303945 sooner_gold
sooner_gold's picture

Another Tax?  49% of Americans pay no income tax yet get money back on tax day.  The poor do not pay taxes in America.  At least this is one way of getting them to have some skin in the game.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:21 | 2303973 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

Such bullshit.  You likely aren't smart enough to understand the stupidity of what you've written.  Keep repeating it... it's your role in the divide and conquer bullshit pulled by the bankers.

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 00:19 | 2305728 Xkwisetly Paneful
Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Yea such incredible bullshit!

You aren't likely smart enough to understand the stupidity of what you've written.

Oh you're in the top .000000001% of historical mankind and those a whopping .0000000005% higher are the greedy ones?

Keep repeating's your role regardless of existing like royalty of not more than two generations ago to perpetually play the woe is me victim.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:29 | 2304028 SeverinSlade
SeverinSlade's picture

So the poor don't pay inflation tax? 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:33 | 2304057 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

apparently, or tax on anything they buy. I need to start shopping at this "poor only"store.  Just bought some more tools.  The tax on these durable goods was almost 10% or over $500.  Bull fucking shit.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:57 | 2304184 SheepleLOVEched...
SheepleLOVEcheddarbaybiscuits's picture

but why is there inflation? from the increase in social spending, which comes from tax payers(ie people who pay more in taxes than the value of the public goods they consume) and tax consumers(people who consume more public goods than taxes paid). Very simple.....

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:20 | 2304272 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

WRONG.  There is inflation because of the monetary system.  There is inflation because money is credit that is loaned into existence with interest that begins to accumulate at creation.  The SYSTEM requires more debt to be created or it crashes.  Government debt is only one piece of debt ponzi scheme. 

Very simple describes your mind if you buy the lie that you have been provided and have chosen to repeat.  They sold you the lie so you would have someone to blame other than them.  The easy scapegoat for you... the poor.  Very simple... your mind.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 19:25 | 2305242 Maos Dog
Maos Dog's picture

EXACTLY! Not a PENNY of that printed money goes into SNAP, EBT, TANF, TARP, Welfare for the Poor, Welfare for the rich, ect, ect....

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 00:07 | 2305699 Xkwisetly Paneful
Xkwisetly Paneful's picture



There is also inflation with the government being the largest consumer, employer, renter, landlord, borrower and lender in the country.

It is fake demand which drives up the price of everything whether the federal reserve exists or not.

Very simple... your mind.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:59 | 2304425 Saro
Saro's picture

The devaluation of money hurts people who have cash on hand and helps people who are in debt.  Of course, the rich are more likely to have assets on hand too.

Without some evidence one way or the other, the most I'd be willing to wager is that the guy with his fingers on CTRL-P is the one likely to be winning the game.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:21 | 2303948 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Lets see how the other casino is doing, the DOW....oh +50 right where its been since open. Suspension of disbelief 100% in effect while the whole building burns to the ground.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:17 | 2303949 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Selling hope.... the system keels over without the illusion of hope...

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:18 | 2303956 Clayton Bigsby
Clayton Bigsby's picture

I reject your reality, and substitute my own!

I, and my other hundred million idiots that bought into said scam, look forward to telling you all to swing from my nuts after I win tonight...

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:20 | 2303968 lemonobrien
lemonobrien's picture

hey, i bought a ticket, and i ain'ts poor.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:20 | 2303970 Bob
Bob's picture

The lottery is an extremely regressive tax.  I think of it as a hopelessness tax. 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:32 | 2304053 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

"I think of it as a hopelessness tax. "

And yet....... it is still a voluntary one.  Why not just think of it as an unsolicited act of charity to someone who may someday have some magic numbers in their hand?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:56 | 2304175 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

1 in 160 million... is that charity?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:21 | 2303971 j.tennquist
j.tennquist's picture

I remember when the lottery was sold to the voters of my state with the claim that ALL the procedes would go to fund education and schools.  

That was back when they had one card and they called out the winning numbers on TV every Wednesday night.

Now they create a new "scratch-and-sniff" card every week, or so it seems.

And every year I read how the schools are consistently under funded.

Another scam, courtesy of the our friends in politics. 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:23 | 2303990 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

such a scam... of course money is fungible... so it matters not if 100% of the proceeds go to education... it just means that other buckets of taxation no longer get funneled towards indoctrination.. errrr... I mean education.  Life is a racket.  All of it.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:22 | 2303980 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture

"I have never bought a lottery ticket and honestly don’t even know how."

Has the author not set foot in a convienece store in the last 30 years? The lotto apparatus and advertizing in most stores is practically shouting at the customer.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:31 | 2304323 kalasend
kalasend's picture

I can second the author by saying this. 

Even if i know where to buy the tickets, i don't know the procedures. Do I get to mark the numbers or are they computer generated? What do I say walking up the counter? "A wet dream, please"? "Show me the fucking money opportunity"? Okay, perhaps "Can I get a lotto ticket". But is it an "a"? or do I have to buy them in a batch?

It is all these that I would classify myself, too, as not knowing how to even buy a fucking lotto ticket.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:47 | 2304596 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

I have never bought a lottery ticket and honestly don’t even know how.

ask your chauffer about them. maybe he can even take you to play ten-pins at the 'bowlings' alley and buy you a corndog.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:22 | 2303984 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:23 | 2303989 Crispy
Crispy's picture

Im a sucker. Im all in for my 4 obama bozo bucks for 2 games. I will go without my 2 cups of coffee from the local deli as punishment for being such a douche...


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:36 | 2304071 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

"I will go without my 2 cups of coffee from the local deli"

new headline:


Now, look what you've gone and done.................

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:43 | 2304110 Crispy
Crispy's picture

No worries bro...its transient..

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:23 | 2303996 kato
kato's picture

just like casino gambling is a tax on ignorance.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:46 | 2304595 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

It must be magic living with you Kato.  But, I like to play a little on the lottery now and then, I do not like to sit in a casino and blow wads of cash, not that I have not tried it.  Still, while it was expensive enough it was also a lot of fun.  I took my Mom to Reno once and gave her a few hundred to play the slots.  She was at the $1 progressive machines at MGM, I got tired and went to our suite to crash and about 3:30 in the morning I was awakened to hear her and a bell boy with a trolley loaded with buckets and buckets of dollar coins, over $4,000 of them.  The look on her face was worth a million dollars. 

But I suppose there are people that genetically are incapable of finding the fun in taking chances just like there are folks that physically taste bitterness in certain common vegetables or are left handed, that is OK, the world needs them like all the rest of us, I just wish they had as light an attitude about others and the need for it taking all kinds of people.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 19:36 | 2305271 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

What's the stock market, would you say?

A tax on the disingenuous?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:24 | 2303997 notadouche
notadouche's picture

This affirms that poor people do have the ability to pay a tax of some amount.  Look how much debt could be serviced if the 50% that don't pay taxes were made to pay a $100 tax a year.   You know "shared sacrifice" and all.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304017 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

does it count if they are "paying" with food stamp (i.e. taxpayer) money?  Maybe you simply forgot you < sarc > tags.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:51 | 2304154 notadouche
notadouche's picture

You mean you can buy lotto with food stamps?  I did not know that.  That's wierd wild shtuff!

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:04 | 2304222 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

I believe ZH actually had an article on this. It is very sick.  Search the archives, but be warned, you won't like what you find.  never should have eaten that red pill.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:26 | 2304006 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

stupid is as stupid does, don't fight the Fed or mother Nature and evolution as you always lose.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304016 Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden's picture

Which is ironic, because what the Fed does is precisely fighting evolution (Too Big To Fail, bailouts, etc...) and "mother Nature" (no more downticks in the Russell 2000, end of the business cycle, deleveraging is now punishable by firing squad, etc...).

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:28 | 2304023 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

By your own words sir; "on a long enough timeline...."  All one can do is hedge accordingly, and for that I thank you.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:55 | 2304173 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Evolution is a very slippery word. If you are referring to human-directed evolution you are correct. I didn't think the original use of 'evolution' referred to such, having directly followed 'mother Nature'.

What the Fed does is more aptly described as attempting to circumvent natural economic 'laws', including survival of the (economically) fittest. Think of it as intelligent (okay, that's a stretch when referring to Fed actions) intervention. One can say that companies evolve (Apple from a computer company to an electronic gadget company) or that investing strategies evolve (value investing up through HFT), but all are the result of human-directed actions.


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:07 | 2304233 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"human-directed" evolution.

I didn't realize that humans were no longer part of the natural world.  Do you work at the Fed or simply like to contradict yourself?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 20:18 | 2305339 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

I think since MonSantO, DoWCheM, RayTHeon, et al gave birth to themselves, many hu-mans have been barred from the world of nature.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:23 | 2304482 TuesdayBen
TuesdayBen's picture

and I gotta believe that at some point the Fed will lose

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:56 | 2304108 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Don't fight the Fed? Isn't that what advocates of PMs are doing?

Don't fight mother nature? Why does Florida have stronger building codes now than pre-Hurricane Andrew? Why do we build dams and bridges and countless other things?

Don't fight evolution? If you know the laws of physics, tell me how entropy decreases (as postulated by evolving DNA) without external, intelligent guidance? Why didn't corn over the ages evolve to have biopesticide generation as part of its DNA? Why did we have to wait for Monsanto to develop such frankencrops? And which evolved first, male organs or female organs? And how did the one gender survive until the other gender "evolved"? Genetic drift - think mutations - is destructive, not constructive. Micro-evolution, in the form of adaptation within a species to suit local conditions, works. That, however, seems to be inherent in the DNA itself.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:05 | 2304187 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"If you know the laws of physics, tell me how entropy decrease (as postulated by evolving DNA) without external, intelligent guidance?"  - Simple, the cell burns glucose (utilizes energy) in order to overcome the entropy problem.  So, while the components of the cell appear to be becoming more organized etc. (beating entropy), the environment around the cell (or organism) becomes a bit more disorganized.  Stop eating and let me know how your fight against entropy goes.


FYI- numerous plants did develop their own natural pesticides (where do you think the scientists at Monsanto get their ideas and genes/DNA?)

Looks like another idiot just figured out that their degree from Bob jones University or Liberty College might not be worth what they paid for it.  Shall we talk about an education bubble?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:14 | 2304254 Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

So putting a space heater in my kid's room will result in it's cleaning itself up, huh?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:21 | 2304277 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

You question does not make any sense, especially since the energy for that space heater is comeing from outside the home (just like the glucose in the cell).  Troll harder, and make those kids of yours get off their ass and clean it up.

Put the heater under your kid's ass and then the answer to you weak trolling would be yes and the system would be analogous to the cell.  Energy coming from the power plant (via burning coal) acts like the glusoce in the cell and provides energy (or in the case of your lazy kid-motivation) to clean up the room, just like the enzymes in the cell utilize the energy from the glucose.

Are you saying that burning coal results in a cleaner, more organized, environment?  Troll harder.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:32 | 2304508 bbq on whitehou...
bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

The solution to entropy is our universe. Its a big place im told and growing bigger by the day.

Hows that for "beating enthropy".

Or am a just a better troll?

Of course in the universe the unlikely is common place; or so ive been told.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:26 | 2304007 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

With 640 million, I'd buy one mac book pro... and full the gas tank... then I would go back on welfare.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:30 | 2304032 Dingleberry
Dingleberry's picture

Dude we just had a 20-something year-old girl here that won a million bucks a couple of years ago, and found out she was STILL collecting food stamps. She bought a couple of houses, had a couple of kids (fathers MIA, of course), and said she had "bills to pay" when the news broke the story. The state just got that money back from her.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:39 | 2304090 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

I think that he was insinuating that due to rampant inflation he would be broke after just those few purchases.  The again, I see sarcasm everywhere I look.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:44 | 2304118 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

You are right. It was sarcasm. Also saying that Macs are very ridiculously expensive.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:31 | 2304047 j.tennquist
j.tennquist's picture

No Prius??

You f-ing Communist.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:00 | 2304204 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

No Chevy Volt? You f-ing anti-Obamunist!

Fixed it.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:26 | 2304008 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Its funny that TPTB have convince most people to look down at Poker/Backgammon for cash.....but that these games actually take skill to play, and skill *gasp* develops critical thinking skills.

A proletariat with critical thinking skills, isn't one that isn't the most easiest to control. 

Poker, to most people, is intimidating.  "I don't have a good poker face".  "I'm worried I'll get bluffed." "I can't fold".

GOOD!  You should be a prudent gambler!  You should thnk about potential outcomes becfore shoving it in.  Good poker players think about what to do not on the streets they see, but what do to on prospective streets when they arise.  We plan ahead, so that we won't get caught off guard and do somethign dumb when some guy shoves 300BBs into a 20BB pot.  

If you choose to gamble OR invest, gambling and investment SHOULDN'T be some aimless, riskaverse, mighty boomerang of hope throwing contest. 

But TPTB wants the gambling environment to be, because if you are dumb enough to spend $630 dollars a year on a 100m-to-1 shot, you'll be dumb enough to listen to a Merril Lynch Broker on where to invest your hard earned retirement and family savings.  In a sense, it's another instance whenre governemnt is saying, "Hey, you don't have to worry about the odds....or even how to play.  We will take CARE of that for you!  Just sign here and make the check out to....."

But if you gamble in games where THINKING is involved= big NO NO.  You develop skepical firewalls to your wallet.  You question.  And therefore, you realize how much bullshit the stock market really is (for those who can afford it...which happen to be non-existent in my generation). 

But a lottery where anyone can play, and basically throw cash into a bottomless pit of fire?  Where the gov't (and the corporation that runs the fucking thing) can take their cuts? 

I'll take 10 Qwik-Picks, plz.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:55 | 2304168 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Actually, I think if you study the history of numbers games, they got started as illegal rackets.  State lotteries came about in order to end the many numbers rackets going on, most of which were just scams.  I know this because a relative of mine was involved in "running numbers" before the official state lottery got started. 

There are probably still "illegal" numbers games--the odds of winning those, if they were at least semi-legit, were a lot better than today's state-run scams that offer seemingly big prizes but then seize half (and more) of the winnings.  The scam never reall went away...

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:21 | 2304475 TuesdayBen
TuesdayBen's picture

My next door neighbor here in DC burbs, an Asian guy, got busted a few months back for operating 'gambling machines' at a nearby Asian shopping center.  He disappeared for a month or so, in some sort of detention I suppose.  It is OK not to assimilate in this country, but it is most definitely not OK to operate a competitor to the lottery - on the premise that you are serving a cultural niche market - as my neighbor learned the hard way.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:28 | 2304496 chenn
chenn's picture

It's good you could take time away from twoplustwo to throw in a post here at ZeroHedge. :D

To make you feel more at home I will also answer thusly,


Fold preflop.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304013 automato
automato's picture

If you subscribe to the "Infinite Universe" theory then there is at least one parallel Universe where YOU are the WINNER! 

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:56 | 2304176 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture


Fri, 03/30/2012 - 15:56 | 2304629 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

Funny you should say that, just yesterday I was thinking rather intensely that in an alternative universe I was President and CEO of FaceTube, the richest man on the planet, and married to one of the Winklevoss twins (either one is OK).  In a really infinite universe there is one in which not only have I bought the winning MegaMillions ticket but in which I have purchased every winning lottery ticket ever sold since I was old enough to buy them, and PeopleTime Magazine ran my face on their cover as the world's luckiest (and sexiest) man.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304014 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

I know lots of 1% who play the Lotto, occasionally.

The reality is it is a tax on the poor. And is also evidence of the fact that majority of people have no clue how to manage their money.

Still fun to spend $5 and dream and play "what if".

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:47 | 2304132 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

"The reality is it is a tax on the poor."

It is?  What is the penalty for non-payment of this tax?  Debtor prison, garnishment of wages?  Imprisonment and fines?  No - none of those apply.  It is a habit (gambling) and like any other vice it has a cost.  People choose to smoke (I don't), drink (I most certainly DO!), gamble (not for me), or take drugs (nope).

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:56 | 2304181 aerojet
aerojet's picture

I can't live my life like that.   I would rather be a self-made man or just a regular zhlub.  I don't even want to become rich by winning some stupid fucking lottery.  It's a bad mindset to even have.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27 | 2304018 Big Ben
Big Ben's picture

A lottery is a system that takes money from the poor and gives it to the rich (since the winner immediately becomes rich). It is very funny to watch how all these legislatures who claim to be dedicated to helping the poor suddenly set aside all their high-minded principles when presented with an opportunity to grab more money for the state.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:30 | 2304029 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

sort of.  In many states the lottery also funds public education.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:36 | 2304078 j.tennquist
j.tennquist's picture

In Nevada, it funds brothels. 

Brighter and more enlightened economic spending for a better Amerika.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:39 | 2304091 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Nevada keeps sounding better every time I learn something new about it.  How is the water situation going out there?

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:44 | 2304802 vato poco
vato poco's picture

Ain't no lottery in Nevada, bubba - except a halfass bait & switch bullshit scam that absolutely nobody plays and is "administered" by the casinos. And there ain't never GONNA be a real lottery here. Steve & Sheldon & Caesars & Mandalay & MGM don't like competition, and their wholly-owned legislature ain't *ever* gonna cross their casino masters.

As for the brothels, think for a minute: even in Nevada, last bastion of (what's left of our previous) freedom, do you really think lawmakers would dare sign on to fund brothels with tax money when there are so many other loud, whiny, organized constituencies (teachers, cops, old fucks) squealing for ever mo' money? Does not compute.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:25 | 2304292 Big Ben
Big Ben's picture

OK, then why not just enact a law that taxes everyone below median income, gives 70% of the proceeds to public education, and gives the remaining 30% to millionaires? Wouldn't that be more efficient?

Sat, 03/31/2012 - 08:58 | 2306091 BidnessMan
BidnessMan's picture

Lottery tickets funded a good part of my kid's college tuition.  I don't buy lottery tickets, but thank you to the folks who do!  I really appreciate the tuition subsidy.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:28 | 2304022 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

Holy crap! 36.1%?!? I had no idea.

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:30 | 2304030 devo
devo's picture

I thought everyone knew this...

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