Is It Foolish To Play The Lottery?

This article is from Tino, a lottery blogger.

Is it Stupid to Play the Lottery

Is she stupid or smart for buying 100 lottery tickets?

Did you hear the one about the rich wealth managers that won a $254 million Powerball jackpot?

Golly gee, I need to stop beginning my blog posts with “Did you hear the one about…”

It kind of makes it sound like I’m just about to tell a joke. Then I leave you hanging, waiting for the punchline, expecting me to end it all off with, “Am I right people?”

OK, so let me start again. Three rich wealth managers won a $254 million Powerball jackpot. Have you heard the news?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Whoa, this guy’s not joking.

Let’s back it up a bit. Rich wealth managers won the lottery? No, that can’t happen. Money managers don’t play the lottery. In fact, they often preach to their clients that it’s foolish to play the lottery. Then they turn around and buy a ticket for themselves. Bad, bad, bad. Bad money managers… Hypocrites!” That’s exactly what you were thinking, right?

It’s Foolish – No It’s Not Foolish

By now, I’m pretty sure you get that the story about the wealth managers winning the Powerball jackpot is actually a true story. I’ll discuss them in a moment. But first, I need to ask the question, “Is it foolish or stupid to play the lottery?” Here’s the definitive answer… Yes… No… Yes and no.

On the one hand, it’s foolish or stupid to play the lottery. On the other hand, it isn’t. Confused? Don’t worry, I’ll explain. But first, I want to beat around the bush one more time and tell you a little story about myself.

My Lottery Experiment

I did something crazy. I conducted an experiment to see if I could win the lottery by buying 1000 tickets. Do you think that was dumb of me? It was. But let me tell you, I’m not the only person who has ever done that before.

I’d bet there are thousands of people that have come up with the exact same idea – Try to win the lottery by buying 1000 tickets. I’d further bet that there are many many more people that have bought even more lottery tickets than that in one shot. Do you agree?

Now, let me ask you another question – What type of person would spend $1000 on lottery tickets in one shot? Let me try to answer that for you. I think that the type of person that would spend this kind of money on lottery tickets is the type of person that is mathematically and financially illiterate.

To them, buying a lottery ticket is an investment. It’s the only way they know of to get rich in this life. To them, there’s no other way. So they spend a disproportianate amount of money on the lottery. It’s like flushing money down the drain and this would be the type of person that could least afford to be doing so.

Guess what? I just answered the original question, “Is it foolish or stupid to play the lottery?” If you spend more money on lottery tickets than you can afford, you’re being foolish. If you think that winning the lottery is your only path to riches, you’re foolish. If you think that buying a lottery ticket is an investment, you’re foolish.

By the way, I really did buy 1000 lottery tickets for an experiment. If you don’t believe me, do a Google search for “Can I win the lottery if I buy 1000 tickets” and you’ll find all of the details posted on my lottery blog.

The Rich Wealth Managers

The rich wealth managers that I mentioned at the top about winning a $254 million Powerball jackpot is also a true story. They are Tim Davidson, Greg Skidmore, and Brandon Lacoff and they work at a wealth management company in Greenwich, Connecticut called Belpointe.

Not only are these three wealthy, but they also live in the wealthiest city in America – Greenwich, Connecticut. Greenwich has the highest median income in the country, at about $112,000. Compare that to the national median, at just about $50,000, and you’ll realize that, not only are these three rich, but pretty much everyone around them is rich.

You wouldn’t think that people in Greenchich play the lottery, now, do you? They do.

These three winners are a stark contrast to the image of the foolish lottery player that I painted above, yet they still played the lottery. Does that make them foolish too? Absolutely not! You see, these three won the lottery with just one ticket. A single ticket! It cost them just $1. They could afford to lose $1, don’t you think?

That’s the difference between the three wealth managers that won the lottery and foolish lottery players that spend more then they could afford. The three from Connecticut probably just considered their $1 lottery purchase an entertainment expense.

They would never ever consider spending more than they could afford on the lottery and they probably never expected to win. When you play like that, playing the lottery is not foolish or stupid.

Am I right people?

Image by Chris Winters

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Last Edited: May 8, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

Comments

  1. As an entertainment option, the lottery is pretty cheap and harmless (unless you have a gambling addiction).

    As a retirement strategy, it’s a horrible option.

    We spend less than 1/10 of 1% of household income on lottery tickets. It’s not something that will lead to our financial ruin, and if we happen to hit a jackpot, great.

  2. I think you’ve covered it well – playing the lottery isn’t foolish, but using the lottery as an investment, job, or savings plan is foolish. Too bad people don’t realize that for every lucky winner, there are millions and millions of people who don’t win. Sure, dreaming about winning is fun. But for most people that’s all it will ever be!

  3. Interesting point of view. Not sure I’ll ever really get into gambling or playing the lottery. Fun to imagine though.

  4. Debbie Chioffe says:

    I don’t think that it is foolish, dumb, or stupid. I feel that as long as it is played in moderation and with constraint and real expectations than it is fine. More than fine really, it is fun. It keeps that little spark of hope..of “what if”, alive . It is magical thinking to be sure but aren’t we allowed that once in awhile? I myself have won contests..sometimes with seemingly impossible odds! It happens. Its fun and it can be harmless, if not taken too seriously.

  5. Chris Tucker says:

    Lotto is a waste.

  6. ontargetcoach says:

    Creative ‘niche’ blog you have, but you didn’t convince me to gamble.

  7. seanhopcraft says:

    This is a good way to look at it. These guys just did it for “What the heck, for the fun of it…” not “I am desperate to pay the bills so I’m going to buy a lottery ticket!” That dollar purchase paid off, good for them.

  8. I never play the lotto but I find it funny when people only play when there’s a “big” jackpot, winning a few million isn’t worth the $1 investment but trying for $100 million is, the odds are the same …

  9. I never play the lotto but I find it funny when people only play when there’s a “big” jackpot, winning a few million isn’t worth the $1 investment but trying for $100 million is, the odds are the same …

  10. seanhopcraft says:

    Actually the odds are much worse because more people are buying tickets at 100 million.

  11. I met someone who spent about $50,000 per year on lottery tickets. He insisted that he spends that much every year, and that he always comes out ahead by $5,000-$10,000.

    He justified it by saying it was his hobby. He doesn’t go out to bars drinking or have a boat or motorcycle. Lottery is his thing.

    I’m not gonna dare call him stupid when he usually comes out ahead.

  12. I met someone who spent about $50,000 per year on lottery tickets. He insisted that he spends that much every year, and that he always comes out ahead by $5,000-$10,000.

    He justified it by saying it was his hobby. He doesn’t go out to bars drinking or have a boat or motorcycle. Lottery is his thing.

    I’m not gonna dare call him stupid when he usually comes out ahead.

  13. I’ve always avoided the lottery as a ongoing act. Of course I’ve dabbled with it but I’ve never won enough to consider it a viable financial reward. I agree that it’s rather harmless as most people don’t throw too much away but I think it’s rather stupid as most people just end up throwing money that could be used more wisely away.

  14. I’ve always avoided the lottery as a ongoing act. Of course I’ve dabbled with it but I’ve never won enough to consider it a viable financial reward. I agree that it’s rather harmless as most people don’t throw too much away but I think it’s rather stupid as most people just end up throwing money that could be used more wisely away.