The Dream of Lottery Millions
There are six numbers that can change your life. One of the first things to think of if time travel were possible. Going back to last week knowing this weeks’ lottery numbers. The right six numbers.
We know the statistics. The chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are about one in 175.2 million. People are more likely to die from a bee sting, one in 6.1 million, be struck by lightning, one in 3 million, or have conjoined twins, one in 200 000.
But the dream of lottery millions prevails. Despite the overwhelming odds, and distinct lack of chance, people keep playing the lottery. People are simply in love with hope. The fact that the thought of winning lottery millions is much more fun than the thought of being attacked by a shark.
The Decision to Be Involved
Given the amount spent on lotteries annually, part of the lottery millions attraction is that everyone else is doing it too. The fear of being left out is evidently a powerful motivator, as is seeing people winning lottery millions, thus the urge to at least be in the draw.
Spend a little, get a lot is, additionally, the basis for every good investment. The low cost of a lottery ticket is one of the most seductive things about it, as people tend to focus on the cost-to-benefit ratio of a single ticket rather than add up the long-term cost of playing over a year, or a lifetime. Lotteries are, on the face of it, really cheap to play, but with a huge possible upside, and this seems, by all reports to perfectly hit the sweet spot of risk-taking. Despite the implausible odds, the fact that lotteries are often called stupidity tax, millions are glued to their television sets twice a week just imagining how wonderfully their lot in life could change.
To Buy or Not To Buy
The purchase of lottery tickets cannot be disassociated from the dream of winning the lottery millions. Normal decision-making processes are based on expected value maximization and hence the return on investment principle. Lottery tickets are an exceptionally poor investment, and the return in incredibly small compared to the investment. Pure lottery mathematics dictates that buying lottery tickets is of such low return value that it should prevent any sensible person from buying lottery tickets.
However, there are additional factors at play in deciding to participate in the lottery. In addition to the lottery millions, a lottery ticket may enable some people to experience an actual physical thrill, with increased heart-rate and adrenaline, whilst entertaining the fantasy of becoming the recipient of the lottery millions and becoming extremely wealthy. The hoped for outcome, despite being almost unbelievably small, is so high and so life-altering that the purchase of a lottery ticket become a totally rational decision within the scale of peoples’ lives.
The lure of lottery millions is therefore a fully justifiable expense, if valued on a day-to-day basis, given the amount of change that would be effected should one win the jackpot. And who said there was no price on hope?