Why Do People Play the Lottery?
Insecure people are always actively on the lookout for reasons to look down on others to feel smart about themselves, which is why I find a certain satisfaction in never being able to understand why some people are stupid enough to play the lottery. Granted, on the scale of stupid games, it's probably no where near the far extreme, but it's very expensive to play over the long term and most people know this, so what's the attraction?
Your Chances of Winning
Over 50% of people in the United States regularly play the lottery while approximately 65% have received college education which leads me to believe that at least 15% of people took media studies because they were too thick to get into a real course. (Incidentally if you did take media studies in college: I was just kidding, please upvote my post, I meant people who studied psychology; and vice versa if you took psychology, I'm sure you guys have a phrase for that too).
So what are your actual odds of winning? Well, I wouldn't expect it to be high as I don't think my friends are complimenting me when they say something like 'your chances of getting her number are as good as winning the Powerball jackpot, Traf'. So I looked it up and I was right: Powerball reports its odds of winning the grand prize to be at 1/175,000,000. Holy shit! The likelihood of you winning is probably on par with flushing $15 down the toilet, then going outside, picking a random spot at the local park and digging a hole to find a bag filled with $50 million of drug money; and depending on how shady your neighborhood is you may be more successful doing the latter if you can stomach stumbling upon decomposing bodies from time to time too.
In fact, most lotteries in the United States have a payout rate that's lower than 50% of the funds earned from the ticket sales. In comparison, slot machines are generally required by law to have a payout rate of over 90%, as do most casino games. So you're better off hitting the spinners or craps tables with your kids' college savings instead guys; I mean they'll probably just end up doing media studies or psychology before jumping on welfare anyway.
You know, there's actually no reason to underline the number 69 as it's symmetrical in rotation, there are just some really lonely people out there manufacturing these balls
The Allure of Playing the Lottery
Some people often retort that it's not stupidity that compels them to play the lottery, as they're well aware of the odds (like knowing this would make you less stupid for taking part rather than more), but hope and excitement that comes from the uncertainty of a game of chance.
This does on some level make sense, I must confess. Perhaps I underestimated how riveting watching a bunch of multi-colored balls floating about can be. Maybe some people are so excited about next Saturday's Powerball that they re-watch all previous 59 seasons to get a recap of the plot so far. Hell, I suppose if the balls were delivered a different way, say fired out from a thai dancer, I'd probably be just as glued to the screen.
This makes it look deceptively fun, like a roller coaster at a gay pride parade
Another possible explanation may be that studies have shown that our brains are incapable of actually comprehending infinitesimal odds like 1 in 175 million, you know, much like how seals can't count pass 3 or some shit, and we just focus on the fantasy of winning millions, which, if you're reading this in a few years time, might be enough to buy 3 or 4 bitcoins. So while the probability of success is low, the cost is also minimal and the rewards can be potentially really high - it's basically the same thing that's been motivating me to spend 6 hours a day swiping right non-stop on Tinder.
So what do you think about the lottery? Is it a tax on stupidity or am I being too harsh on something that's just a bit of harmless fun? Hell, have you perhaps won the lottery or know someone who has? Where I'm from, we consider ourselves having won the genetic lottery if we have the right number of chromosomes.
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