Lottery mania

I will admit to buying the occasional lottery ticket, knowing full well the ridiculous odds, seeing it personally as a fun little dream (although I missed out on participating in this drawing).

But the sheer volume of money spent is staggering.

From J. Freedom Du Lac’s Washington Post article on last night’s $636 million Mega Millions drawing:

Sales across the country Tuesday, in advance of the drawing, averaged about $500,000 per minute and were expected to peak during the evening rush hour, according to Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery.

Otto, who was also serving as lead director of the consortium of states that administers the Mega Millions game, said that in the Old Dominion itself, the Virginia Lottery was doing about a half-million dollars in Mega Millions business each hour.

The Maryland Lottery sold $13,392 in Mega Millions tickets per minute and $223 worth each second between 6 and 7 p.m. — the state’s peak hour, according to director Stephen Martino.

The responses on my Facebook include these:

Jack Zamboni: “Not sure if I saw this correctly, but was in a local Quik-Check yesterday getting coffee and I think I saw a woman buying $500 worth of lottery tickets with cash. How sad that she should be wasting money she probably really needs on such ridiculously long odds.”

Noel Bailey: “…think what good that money could do – I know that some of it helps education, but not enough, given the sad state of education in this country. And, like most forms of gambling, this negatively impacts those who can least afford it.”

Paige Baker: A friend once told me “Lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math.” (I will still buy a ticket every now and then, just for fun, but I know he was right.)

What are your thoughts?

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