I’m putting this in IMHO because I don’t think there is a definitive answer, but if there is one Mods feel free to move it to GQ instead.

In certain social situations it is not uncommon for the topic of the state-sponsored lottery to come up in casual conversation. Typically someone will make a comment that the lottery is a ‘sucker’s bet’ since the odds of winning are so low. :o In these people’s minds it’s just like ‘throwing your hard earned money right out the window’. :dubious:

While I agree that the odds of winning the state lottery are incredibly low, I don’t equate it to ‘throwing money out the window’ since there is a non-zero chance of winning a very large payout. After all, eventually someone has to win. In my mind, if there was a zero chance of winning, i.e. if the lottery was ‘fixed’, or if the payout was only $50 dollars, then it would be a sucker’s bet. But to risk $1 with the opportunity to win $10M, no matter how high the odds are, to me isn’t a sucker’s bet.

One could certainly argue that taking that $1 a week and investing it in a stock market index fund over 50 years would be a smarter and safer thing to do, but the chance of that fund being worth $10M is certainly no greater than the chance of hitting the lottery.

So in your humble opinion is playing the lottery a sucker’s bet for fools, or a cheap way to possibly win a lot of money?

In full disclosure I should mention that I can afford to spend $52 a year on the lottery and that I have started playing it regularly, although I haven’t won very much yet.