By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg
Tonight, millions of Americans will try their luck at the biggest Mega Millions drawing in the history of the 22-year-old game. The grand prize? A staggering $1.6 billion payout to the winner(s). While many are salivating at the chance to take home a life-changing sum of money, almost every single person who buys a ticket will end up a loser. No matter how you look at it, you’re just not going to win the lottery tonight.
According to the Missouri Lottery, your odds of holding a winning lottery ticket for the record-breaking Mega Millions drawing tonight are 1 in 302,575,350. 44 states have lotteries and in 2013, lottery sales topped $68 billion dollars. All told, it is nearly certain that you will never meet anyone who has won the jackpot.
What’s even more disturbing is that the poorest Americans actually account for much of the money gambled on lottery tickets. In fact, minorities, drug addicts and the poor are some of the biggest groups to consistently play the lottery. A recent study found that people making less than $10,000 a year spend an average of 567 dollars on tickets annually. In other words, 6% of their already low income goes down the drain. Many low-income households also believe that the lottery is their way to a better life. A staggering 38% thought that playing the lottery was the most practical way to get $200,000 of net worth. Instead, their net worth, on average, only decreases further, with every $2 spent.
Here is a list of things you can purchase for less than 2 dollars:
2 cups of coffee, a razor, a pair of scissors, mascara, socks, lipstick, a temporary tattoo, a bus fare, a can of coke, an app on your phone, a book, a cheap meal. Or, you could take the money and light it on fire. The latter is closer to what will happen for the millions of lottery losers that will get shafted tonight.
Even if you manage to win and be one of the luckiest people on Earth, chances are, your life will not get much better. In fact, in many cases, winners of the lottery are actually more unhappy after winning within mere weeks. Countless stories about this phenomenon have circulated the internet in recent years. Winners take their prizes and lose everything, or even believe that their winnings are a ‘curse‘.
At its core, the lottery is simply a tax for people who are bad at math. Instead of buying a ticket tonight, use the 2 dollars for something worthwhile in your life.
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