A twist on lottery fever: 'You can't lose if you don't play'

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  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2012 10:47 a.m.

    Dennis, I'm sure you speak for your odds.

  • Lyle Springville, UT
    March 30, 2012 6:46 p.m.

    As long as you realize that the lottery ticket you purchase is entertainment, not an investment, heck, have your fun! It's the unfortunate fellow who gets laid off from his job and takes his last paycheck and buys lottery tickets with *all* of it, who is a sad case. With that many tickets, he's *got* to win, right?

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    March 30, 2012 5:31 p.m.

    Those against it and making such snide remarks most likely cannot get a ticket and are jealous of those that do. I see people "throwing" their money away on Coke and soda every day. And I thought it was actually the right who had the "power to the people" mantra. Seems this is a perfect case of the people having the power to either buy a ticket, or not!

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 30, 2012 4:00 p.m.

    @ Bob A. Bohey: You state, "Every dollar spent on a lottery ticket is a dollar that won't be tithed."

    I am not sure I understand what you mean by that.

    Supposedly tithing is supposed to be paid on your increase - not on what is left after you spend money. So if someone is paying tithing like they are supposed to, buying a lottery ticket should not affect the amount of tithing paid.

    If, on the other hand, you mean to imply that people who play the lottery don't pay tithing, then playing the lottery won't affect the amount paid in tithing because they are not paying tithing anyway.

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    March 30, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    There are those of you that think the lottery is harmless fun, but I'm guessing you don't know anyone who is so addicted to gambling that they neglect paying their bills and taking care of their children. These poor folks are much more common than lottery winners.

    I know people in Malad who can't trust their family members with money because it will end up going to the lottery. So remember when you see the winner on TV and you see how happy they are, there are other consequences to the lottery!

    How do you have gas money to drive to Malad to buy lottery tickets anyway? What a waste of time and money! Go do something nice for your neighbor and you feel great without wasting your money!

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    March 30, 2012 1:55 p.m.

    Every dollar spent on a lottery ticket is a dollar that won't be tithed.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    March 30, 2012 1:49 p.m.

    @CHS 85

    Nobody's saying that you personally are doing yourself harm...if that's how you want to waste - err, spend - your entertainment dollars, go for it. The problem I have is that so many of these lottery players are the same ones who whine about not having any money to pay the bills, in massive debt, clamoring for the government to give them a bailout. Or even worse, they are buying lottery tickets while receiving government assistance.

    If you have disposable income and you want to buy lottery tickets, that's your business. But if you are putting lottery tickets in front of basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, then I have a problem with it because eventually I'll end up paying for your necessities while you buy lottery tickets.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 30, 2012 1:44 p.m.

    A tax on the poor? Really? Drive to Malad and see what cars are in the parking lot. They are not old beaters.

    I buy lottery tickets because it is fun.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    March 30, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    I am neither poor nor uneducated, but I put $10 in the office pool, as did 30 of my highly educated and fairly wealthy co-workers. Some of you take life so seriously! What's the harm in spending a buck or two to dream? Relax a little!

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    March 30, 2012 1:00 p.m.

    Supposedly the more that play, the less tax I pay. So play on!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    March 30, 2012 12:55 p.m.

    If you are so worried about the schools, take what you think you would spend each year on lottery tickets and give to your local school district. There would be no lottery overhead or winner’s expenses associated with your contribution, so the schools would benefit more, and you could get a tax deduction. It’s a win-win.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 30, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    @ AZRods: Please re-read my comment. I do not claim that people who receive housing or food assistance do not make the same mistakes many others make and spend their money on things that are "wasteful."

    Mountanman stated that he thought it would be interesting to see how many people are on food stamps and housing BECAUSE they spend their money on lottery tickets.

    My answer is that no one qualifies for food or housing assistance because of HOW they spend their money - they qualify because of how much money they make. They may make poor decisions with the money they make - but that does not make them more eligible for assistance. If you are a 4 person household making $12,000/year, you are (probably) going to qualify for assistance - regardless of whether or not you buy lottery tickets. If you are a 4 person household making $100,000/year, you are (probably) not going to qualify for assistance even if you spend $90,000 of that buying lottery tickets.

    (I say "probably" because there may be extenuating circumstances that affect the outcome - but buying lottery tickets does not count as "extenuating.")

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    I'm sure you non-lottery players feel so smug and pleased with yourself, but I'm sure there is plenty of stuff you throw you cash away on. I don't waste money on sporting events that I can watch for free at home, but I don't begrudge those that do. I don't give money away to any ecclesiastical organization, but I don't begrudge those that do.

    The lottery is an activity. Its only fun if you have some involvement. Tickets are cheap. The odds are what makes it fun. But you can continue to spout your mantras and cliches, I'm sure thats fun for you and it doesn't cost a thing.

    But there are plenty of us who know the odds (they are stated clearly on the lottery website) and are good enough at math to understand them, but still want to have our fun. Freedom and Free Market values certainly are great.

  • Pete in Texas Copperas Cove, TX
    March 30, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    I live in Texas where the lottery is legal. Everytime I see somebody plunk down money for the chance to win this lottery, I'm reminded of the movie "Dumb and Dumber" when Jim Carrey asks the lady what the chances are that they could end up getting together. After she says it's 1 in 1,000,000, he responds by saying, "So you're telling me there's a chance." That pretty much sums up the mentality of lottery players. It's almost laughable to think that people think they have a legitimate chance at winning it. Of course somebody, somewhere is GOING to win it, but essentially at the expense of everyone else. I'd get involved with MLM schemes before I ever did the lottery simply because the odds that I'd profit from it are far greater than the lottery. I've never heard the term "tax on the poor", however, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't seen even one individual drive up in a Lamborghini or Ferrari to purchase lottery tickets. No. It's generally the poorer folks that get suckered into this type of spending. Sad.

  • jpjazz Sandy, UT
    March 30, 2012 11:40 a.m.

    The mind set of a lottery player baffles me, the odds of winning a jackpot of a lower stakes drawing, say for 1 million are much better that that of this 1/2 billion prize. Yet like lemming to the ocean, the minions line up out the door to toss their hard earned $$ with little chance of success.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    March 30, 2012 11:09 a.m.

    The odds seem to just the same as actually getting to the afterlife. Or better.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    March 30, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    Kalindra says "No one qualifies for food stamps or housing because they make poor choices about how to spend their money." You clearly haven't spent much time working with people in these situations. Booze, smoking and lotto are the most common wastes of money by many, though of course not all, who are on food stamps and other government housing.
    It is like any other type of gambling. Some people just don't know when to stop, so house payments, food money etc are lost in the hope of winning. And they justify it's benefits by saying that it helps in other areas of the state.
    Unfortunately, it is being paid by those who can least afford to spend money.
    Just ask yourself, do you know anyone, or anyone who knows anyone who has won the lotto?

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    March 30, 2012 10:32 a.m.


    "This "tax on the poor" stuff is tired, old, and simply not true."

    I agree with you - lottery is not a tax on the poor. It's a tax on the unintelligent, which can be found at any income level.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 30, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    @ Voice of Reason: Your first paragraph was so good and then you had to blow it by bringing in unsubstantiated attacks on liberals... Many liberals oppose lotteries for exactly the reasons you mention in your first paragraph - the problem is that so many people (liberals and conservatives) see lotteries as a way to benefit schools as a choice option instead of a mandatory tax increase that, even though this premise has been proven false time after time, it is impossible to get a lottery stopped once it starts.

    (And FYI: "power to the people" includes the right of people to make their own decisions and live with their own consequences even when we disagree with the choice and know it is going to lead to a bad consequence. The opposite of this would be a nanny state where the state makes the decisions for you - such as a 90 day wait to get divorced.)

    @ Mountanman: Eligibility for social safety net programs such as food stamps is based on how much you make - not where you spend it. No one qualifies for food stamps or housing because they make poor choices about how to spend their money.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 30, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a legitimate study about how much grocery and rent money gets squandered buying lottery tickets? How about how many more people are on food stamps and housing subsidies because they buy lottery tickets! It would be interesting, wouldn’t it? Ahh those unintended consequences of something for nothing mentality!

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    This "tax on the poor" stuff is tired, old, and simply not true. No one is required to play the lottery. Some people spend their extra cash on tithing and some of us buy a few lottery tickets.
    It's fun. People can abuse anything. Maybe if Utah had a lottery our school system and roads wouldn't be such garbage.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    March 30, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    Lets see; 1 to 176,000,000 Where do I sign up?! And to mssr, I hear that New Jersey will let you buy on the internet, so, go for it!

  • Igualmente Mesa, AZ
    March 30, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    The greatest improvement in your odds of winning is that single first ticket. Every ticket after that is a waste of money.

  • Zona Zone Mesa, AZ
    March 30, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    Tax on the poor.

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    March 30, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    Quite simply, lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math. It's also the most regressive tax in our nation, since overwhelmingly it's the poor and uneducated who are using the grocery budget to buy lottery tickets trying to win a jackpot that's about 270 times harder to win than to being struck by lightning in a year.

    And even for that one "lucky" winner, it almost always turns into a living nightmare that leaves them just as poor in a few years' time. Lotteries are a cancer on society, and frankly I'm always surprised by the lack of liberal outrage at a tax that hits the poor in society far more than the middle or upper classes. And I thought the left was all about "power to the people", etc. Just goes to prove the left only wants the poor to be dependent on them for handouts to live; they have no interest in actually lifting the poor out of poverty. Because then, statistically, the poor tend to become Republicans, and wwe can't have THAT.

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    March 30, 2012 8:16 a.m.

    For all of you dreaming at a chance at those easy millions, remember this: Lotteries are nothing more than a tax on the matematically challenged.

    And your odds of winning aren't any better just because the pot is bigger.

  • mssr Provo, UT
    March 30, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    Even is the odds are small, I'd at least like the chance to be able to play and perhaps daydream a bit of what it would be like winning. But not here in Utah, because some grumpy old fogies on the hill think they know what's best for me. Ah, living in Utah....

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    March 30, 2012 6:14 a.m.

    "You can't lose if you don't play".
    That's the theme for organized religion not the lottery.