One important aspect of personal finance that troubles many people is gambling. We have lotteries, casinos and powerball where billions of dollars are wasted each year – often by people that can ill afford it. I’m okay with others wasting their money, but it’s time for a little truth regarding gambling run by the state.
First, running numbers is illegal, except in a state that has a lottery. And, if your state has a lottery, running numbers is still illegal. Now tell me how does that make any sense? Isn’t this a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of argument?
The lottery is a big scam and the wrong thing for governments to get involved with. It isn’t the role of government to run a lottery, unless you also believe that government should operate a casino, serve you drinks while you play, and valet park your car. It doesn’t matter how much revenue is generated voluntarily, it just isn’t what our “limited government” should be getting involved with Satta King.
And, let’s suppose the lottery was a great idea for raising money for good purposes. Well, why is it that one of the richest and oldest lotteries in the nation is operated by a state that is in financial disrepair? Yes, despite all the billions taken in for more than 20 years, California is in bad financial shape. That’s what you get for giving more money to government.
How about the odds of winning? I’m here to tell you that they’re all a big lie. I haven’t seen even one state that is upfront about how slim your odds are. Here is an example: California says that you win the Fantasy 5 jackpot by matching 5 numbers out of field of 39. But you also win something if you match 3 out of 5. What are the odds of that?
They say your odds are 1 in 103 of matching 3 of 5 winning numbers in Fantasy 5. Okay, let’s do the math. The equation of 39 times 38 times 37 gives us the number of combinations there are for 3 numbers selected randomly (that aren’t duplicates) in a field of 39 numbers. That’s the 1 in “how many” number I’m looking for. So what is the answer? It’s 1 in 54,834.
For certain, someone wins at some point in time. There are many games with multiple possibilities to win each game. Some games are daily, while others are twice a week. There are also millions of regular players. When you add all this up, that means the lottery can show winners on a regular basis, but the big money winners are rare.
If you want to get some insight into how lotteries steal away billions each year, I have a comprehensive discussion of the social, political and legal ramifications of state sponsored gambling. You can’t count on the states for information. I’ve made multiple requests of the State of California to tell me how they calculate their odds. They have yet to respond. Imagine that!