Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tossing and Turning

I found myself unable to sleep last night and as a result ended up reading several great articles on which is one of my favorite cites for in-depth, well written articles.

Since the Powerball jack pot is up to $425 million I found this article from Nautilus on why we keep playing the lottery extremely insightful.  I use the term "we" loosely as I'm not a fan of the lottery and I have often pondered why so many people play and why so many people who play are poor.

I have a personal objection to lotteries in they act as a regressive tax on the poor.  As such it was interesting, and depressing, to think about the analysis of the lottery is more popular among the poor.

For many poor people, he adds, there is “no scenario they can come up with in which they are suddenly going to get very rich.” To them, the lottery may be a low probability event—but so is getting a job that pays six figures.

The last time I played the lottery was the last really big Powerball jackpot.  Now, I really had no interest in playing, but everyone in my office was chipping in for a pool and I didn't want to be left out (I also didn't want to be viewed as a "stick in the mud").  The article notes, that indeed, some people are motivated to opt in not because they think they will win, but they don't want to miss an opportunity.

In a 2003 study, researchers in the Departments of Economic and Social Psychology, and Marketing at Tilbrug University in the Netherlands, noted fear of regret played a significantly larger role in the Postcode Lottery than in a regular lottery. It was not the chance of winning that drove the players to buy tickets, the researchers found, it was the idea that they might be forced to sit on the sidelines contemplating missed opportunity. 
So how about you, are you buying a Powerball ticket today?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lottery is not a "regression tax on the poor". It is a voluntary tax on whoever plays the game. Yes, statistics show that poor people overwhelmingly support the lottery, but statistics also show that educated people know the lottery is a losers game.