Do you play the lottery?

This is a poll to settle a disagreement. Do you play any form of the lottery?

Yes, I get that it’s a voluntary tax, or a tax on people who can’t do math, blah blah blah.

But you know what? The guy who won $100 million last week? The odds were the same for him as they are for me. The difference is, he won.

Also, not playing guarantees that I won’t win, with 100% certainty.

All that being said: I can’t remember the last time I bought an instant ticket. Usually I play on-line games like MegaMillions or Powerball. But rarely-- less than ten times per year.

Two Powerball draws a week. I understand the sheer odds against ever winning the jackpot, but it’s a minor investment and it lets me indulge in fantasies. Can’t fantasize if you don’t play. :stuck_out_tongue:

Not even once.

We have been playing for decades - my one big win was $3,500 many years ago (German lottery, 5 out of 6 numbers), with a few wins of about $100 every year or so.
Granted, chances are slim - but ya know, it is kind of fun to imagine what you would do with the money if you won one of those big prizes.
I have never had a coffee at Starbucks in my life, so I figure playing $2/week on lottery is far cheaper than those daily coffee fixes, and who knows - maybe someday…

I just recently started playing.

I’ve long claimed that it makes a lot of sense for me (and people in a similar economic position) to play the lottery, but only recently started acting on it. For what it’s worth, I’m quite good at math. I also understand behavioral economics.

The marginal utility of money is highly non-linear in the range between the cost of a typical lottery ticket and the typical lottery win. Even though my expected value is poor, my expected utility is positive, even ignoring the considerable entertainment value I get out of the fantasy.

As soon as I realized that the odds of winning were almost exactly the same whether I played or not, I realized I need never play.

My girlfriend, Og bless her, does occasionally buy tickets with an eye toward winning us and some friends of ours a way out of the daily grind.

I never buy a ticket, so I answered no. My wife, who buys one every week, gives everyone a few instant tickets as stocking stuffers, so I do play in that sense.

The first lottery I was ever in on, before they became pervasive, was when a few of us went on a recruiting trip to a university, and we went in on a bunch of tickets with one of the worlds leading experts on combinatorics.

We won.

Ditto. It’s Pascal’s wager. I probably play a bit more than I should, but my total investment is probably around $150/year. I don’t smoke, use drugs (aside from caffeine), drink appreciably, or gamble otherwise, so I don’t consider myself laden with ill-wrought vice.

No, I don’t play, and quite frankly I resent when I feel pressured to play when my coworkers play. Thankfully I am now in an office where if they do, I never know about it.

Yes, but a couple planets have to align for me to play the lottery. No Quik-Picks though.

  1. I am buying gas at a place that sells lottery tickets.
  2. I go inside the convenience store for something (I usually pay at pump).
  3. I got to have the right pot-odds, in other words, jackpot has to be high enough considering the odds of winning. For instance, Powerball odds are ~195 Million to 1. 20 Million Jackpot is not enough for me to buy a ticket. For ~100 million, I might consider it.

Even though the jackpots seldom get greater than $4 Million, I tend to play Missouri lottery more frequently. Its odds are 3.5 Million to one. ~60 times ‘better’ than Powerball.

Checking the Missouri lottery website:

Powerball Jackpot $36 Million, odds on winning jackpot: 195 Million to one
MegaMillions Jackpot $51 Million, odds on winning jackpot: 176 Million to one
Mo Lottery, Jackpot $1.3 Million, odds on winning jackpot: 3.5 Million to one.

Would not buy any tickets with those combinations, but if someone gave me a $1 and said I had to buy a ticket, I would play the Missouri Lottery as it has the best ratio.

Yeah, sure. Its a fun little daydream that could possibly pay off. Its a harmless little thing.

We don’t have a lottery in this state, so playing regularly is not an option. I will sometimes buy a ticket or two when I happen to be in a state that does have a lottery.

I play several times a month. I also order Girl Scout cookies and buy raffle tickets at the local public school. I can afford to “waste” a few dollars here or there.

Yes, but people who rarely buy tickets tend to buy them only when the payout is huge. More people buying tickets means the odds are worse, doesn’t it? Or, at the very least, more people playing that particular game increases the chance that other people will play the same numbers in Powerball, etc. meaning that, should you win, you’ll have to split the jackpot.

I do.
I can afford 4 dollars a week (what I spend)
It helps the elderly in PA
It buys a week of dreams.

I have paid in way more than I have ever won. I don’t mind.
I won a few hundred dollars a year or so back - the girl behind the counter made me feel sad; she was so impressed with the amount, I honestly almost gave her half. The reason I didn’t was because I didn’t want it to seem like I was a dirty old man trying to get something.

When the jackpot exceeds $200 million I’ll throw a buck or two at it.

Once I won $7! Whee!

I think I’ve spent $30 on it in the last 20 years. Maybe a bit more, I once bought visitors from out of state a bunch (like 3 or 4) of tix when the jackpot was big.

It buys me a piece of the daydream…

The way I look at it, I’ll just be happy if I win enough to pay down my debts. The Powerball prize of $10,000 has a 1 in 753k chance, which is terrible expected value, but if I include the $4-8 in lottery tickets per month as an addition to my debt payments, I’m still paying down debt but I might get lucky and get to do it all at once. :stuck_out_tongue: If I wind up paying down my debt before I win, which is most likely, no big deal.

The trick is simply not to rest your plans entirely on winning the lottery. Don’t throw all your disposable money into it, don’t put off payments you need to make with the expectation that you’ll win on the next draw. It’s no worse than any other vice, and considering I spent more at the liquor store yesterday than I’ve spent all year on the lottery, it’s not as bad as some. :smiley:

No, I don’t. I occasionally buy tickets, but they are at my husband’s request, and he pays for them, and I hand them to him when I get home.

I have zero interest in gambling. I used to live in Las Vegas, and I really never saw the appeal of playing slots or roulette or most other luck based games. I occasionally played blackjack or poker, and usually I walked away from the table with more money in my pocket than I started out with, but since even at the smoke free tables, the air was full of smoke, it wasn’t pleasant for me.

I’ll throw in a buck or two when the office gets going about it. I do it in full knowledge of the math, but OTOH it’s worth a couple of bucks every now and then to NOT be the one guy left in the office in the miniscule chance that we hit the jackpot; I have that much to spare.