Why do Poor People Always Win The Lottery?

I got to thinking about this today after reading Hot Air’s post about how they had to pull a lottery game in the UK because the goal of the game was in reference to temperature; more specifically, negative numbers.  People were supposed to scratch the ticket and find if they had a lower number than the ticket number.  Once the numbers started getting into the negatives, people got confused:

“The Cool Cash game – launched on Monday – was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some. Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

The story quotes player Tina Farrell, 23:

I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher – not lower – than -8 but I’m not having it.I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression – the card doesn’t say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled.

It’s slightly alarming to learn the average person on the street has difficulties with something as simple as negative numbers, though with 15.1m with poor numeracy perhaps Camelot is at fault for making it too complicated.”

Absolutely astonishing, but there is a story to be learned from it – clearly you’re not investing your money when playing the lottery and it’s not as much of a no brainer as you’d think it would be:

“In a 1999 survey by the Consumer Federation of America and financial services firm Primerica, 40% of Americans with incomes between $25,000 and $35,000 — and nearly one-half of respondents with an income of $15,000 to $25,000 — thought winning the lottery would give them their retirement nest egg. Overall, 27% of respondents said that their best chance to gain $500,000 in their lifetime is via a sweepstakes or lottery win, the survey said.”

That’s pretty sad considering that the chance of winning the Powerball is something like 1 in 140,000,000.  That is 0.0000007143% chance of winning, and think of it this way, if you buy 10,000 tickets, what does that improve your chances?  Well, move the decimal 4 places to the left and you’re now a hefty 0.0071428571% chance to strike it rich!  Buy $1,000,000 worth of tickets and you’re ALMOST to a 1% chance of winning (0.71428571%) – but you better make sure the pot is really big because it sure would be a waste of money if you had to dump $1,000,000 in lottery tickets, and it sure would be a shame to have to share that baby!

The DilbertBlog I ran across also made an interesting post about it also:

“I don’t want to accuse the Powerball people of fixing these lotteries. But I notice that the people who win are coincidentally the people who would be best for marketing future Powerball lotteries.”

Isn’t that how it is supposed to be?  It’s just called “marketing”.  What kind of chump is going to play the lottery if the only people that win it are rich people?  They’d accuse them of fixing it the OTHER way then.  Either way, I think it’s a pretty bad investment.  You’d be better off day-trading because then at least you have some chance of learning something.  In the lottery, it is 100% luck that your numbers get picked, and if you’re part of the 78% of the people that play the same family members birthdays each time, your odds of winning it all are dropping at the same rate you’re dropping the $1 per day to win the lottery.

Just as a point, instead of starting gambling at 18, if you want a nest egg, take that $1 per day and invest it instead, get 10% on your return per year, and retire like the long haul trucker at 64 with $262,000 you’ve built by NOT buying a lotto ticket…

Filed Under: advicefinancial educationInvestingNet WorthRetirementUncategorized

  • http://dividends4life.blogspot.com Dividends4Life

    I have always heard people refer to the lottery as voluntary tax on the ignorant.

    Best Wishes,
    D4L

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  • minimum wage

    “In a 1999 survey by the Consumer Federation of America and financial services firm Primerica, 40% of Americans with incomes between $25,000 and $35,000 — and nearly one-half of respondents with an income of $15,000 to $25,000 — thought winning the lottery would give them their retirement nest egg. Overall, 27% of respondents said that their best chance to gain $500,000 in their lifetime is via a sweepstakes or lottery win, the survey said.”
    ————————————-

    I earn $15,000 per year and I believe this. (I am also highly numerate – I was very good at maths in school – and won\’t waste my money on the lottery.)

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  • http://www.contestu.com/ Sensei

    The lottery: a tax on people who are bad at math.

    Sensei’s last blog post..Win a Trip for 4 to Iceland

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  • http://www.web2carz.com/bad-credit-car-loan Bad Credit Car Loan

    They obviously win the most, because they play the most. Everyone else knows it's a crap shoot.

  • http://lawsonchildcustody.org Suzanne

    People buy lottery because it gives them hope. So the poor are the ones who buy the most lottery and the chances of them hitting is high.

  • Antonioalejandroavellar

    that was a dumb question to ask that's why they play cuz they are poor the question is why rich people always win the lottery.

  • http://forexautomoneyreview.info Mammie

    Lottery is basically for the poor. It's a losing game statistically but it gives hope and as long as it gives hope, people will strive on. So if the buyers of lottery tickets are mainly the poor, naturally more of the poor will win.

  • http://how-to-win-the-lottery-tips.blogspot.com how to win the lottery

    i think poor people are always buying lots of lotteries to be rich… ( rich people don't want to be rich from lotteries, they just trying to improving businesses or etc) then most winners will be poor people..

  • How_to_Win_the_Lottery

    It would seem that eh lower payed people play more lottery games than the high payed people. The strange things is statisticaly the higher earners actually win more lottery jackpots than the low income earners.

    The question is why would this happen? It could be due to the education factor, now I know that sounds bad but if you think about this for one minute, low income earners normally play birthdays numbers and that sort of number logig when it comes to teh lottery. Higher earners look at teh system and say I need to use a spread to increase my odds.

    Disagree with me, well when was the last time you say a drawing that had consecutive mumbers or a group of numbers that all the balls drawn were in the teens only?

  • How_to_Win_the_Lottery

    It would seem that the lower paid people play more lottery
    games than the high paid people. The strange thing is statistically the higher
    earners actually win more lottery jackpots than the low income earners.

     

    The question is why would this happen? It could be due to
    the education factor, now I know that sounds bad but if you think about this
    for one minute, low income earners normally play birthday’s numbers and that
    sort of number logic when it comes to the lottery. Higher earners look at the
    system and say I need to use a spread to increase my odds.

     

    Disagree with me, well when was the last time you say a
    drawing that had consecutive numbers or a group of numbers that all the balls
    drawn were in the teens only?

  • Adriana Frnqi

    I am poor but I struggle day by day working hard on a motel to be able to have something week by week and I hope one day I can hit the jack pot I’m not a drug addict I don’t drink I’m still kind of young and a hard worker like I said I was born poor and I’m still the same way but very proud of my self knowing that I have my job everyday.

  • Morningstarhorizon

    i think poor people win the lottery, because they need the money

  • Chicagobear108

    Its always people who already have money that win the lottery. People who have acres of land and ranches. Mostly its white people who are always winning. .

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaddDogg81 Mark Kelly

    A lot of people who have won the lottery are people who probabl never had moer than a 3 figure sum to their names at once and are uneducated.

  • Cindy

    I see it differently! From where I am and what I see, it is the people that already have more than they use or need that usually win lotteries and sweepstakes. Then when they win even more than they could ever need, for the most part are greedy, which is a sin, with the winnings instead of helping food banks, homeless shelters or churches. The bible teaches it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into heaven.

  • Dashiel Mart

    i won $5,000,000 in the power ball lottery, I took an advice from some person who talked about this great spell caster called Dr. Oye the person placed a testimonies on a blog saying how dr. oye helped him win the lottery by sending him the winning numbers i was curious and i thought it was all joke not until i contacted this spell caster to know for myself how this work because i have spend a lot buying tickets and i never win. I contacted him and he told me the necessary things that need to be done and i did it and he told me to wait for 3days and truly he gave me the winning numbers to play the lottery which i did, Can you believe my name was the third among winners. i am sharing this comment with you that if you want to win the lottery this is the way online tips can not help you abuyespelltemple@gmail.com is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery

  • Dashiel Mart

    i won $5,000,000 in the power ball lottery, I took an advice from some person who talked about this great spell caster called Dr. Oye the person placed a testimonies on a blog saying how dr. oye helped him win the lottery by sending him the winning numbers i was curious and i thought it was all joke not until i contacted this spell caster to know for myself how this work because i have spend a lot buying tickets and i never win. I contacted him and he told me the necessary things that need to be done and i did it and he told me to wait for 3days and truly he gave me the winning numbers to play the lottery which i did, Can you believe my name was the third among winners. i am sharing this comment with you that if you want to win the lottery this is the way online tips can not help you abuyespelltemple@gmail.com is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery