10 Misconceptions about the Lottery

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10 Misconceptions about the Lottery

Find a random person next to you, and odds are high that they have strongly held opinions about the lottery. While many people have deeply held beliefs about the lottery, many of their genuine beliefs are actually widely held myths. This article exposes and debunks 10 popular myths that continue to persist regarding the lottery.

1. The Lottery Is Just Another Way to Tax

Some individuals maintain that the lottery is yet one more way that governments try to tax the public. However, this just isn’t true. A tax is a compulsory payment that must be made to the government, whereas taking part in the lottery is entirely voluntary. Playing the lottery is a choice, and not playing does not have a single consequence other than missing the winning prize.

2. “You’re More Likely to Get Hit by Lighting Than Win the Lottery”

If you’ve talked about the lottery enough, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard something like this quote. This myth, however, has been debunked with math and science. Ed Stanek conducted a study which determined that thousands won the lottery in a given year, while only 91 people were struck by lightning. Simply put, the odds of winning the lottery are significantly greater than getting hit by lighting.

3. Lottery Tickets Are Mostly Purchased by Low-Income Earners

Many people that have negative opinions about the lottery think that the tickets are primarily purchased by the poor. Many nationwide polls have concluded that the exact opposite of this belief is true. These polls suggest that people who make under $25,000 are the least likely to buy a ticket, whereas middle class earners are much more likely to buy a ticket. In fact, a Gallup poll concluded that as much as 57 percent of Americans bought a lottery ticket in the past 12 months.

4. You Don’t Get Anything for a Losing Lottery Ticket

Lottery losers are actually nothing of the sort. First of all, they had fun, but they are also often entered into special second chance drawings. As such, lotteries are not one-off events, and you also get the challenge in choosing the right set of numbers or scratching off the right sequence. All of these things have value beyond the price of the ticket.

5. State Lottery Regulations Simply Can’t Be Trusted

Actually, lottery files are public record, meaning any interested citizen can investigate the lottery proceedings. If a citizen chooses to do so, they will see that there is nothing improper that occurs and that the regulations are indeed trustworthy.

6. Only Winning Tickets Benefit from the Lottery

This is far from the truth. In fact, millions have won cash prizes, and a lottery also gives back to the community. Lotteries also support great causes in a jurisdiction, and a winning ticket is great for a local economy.

7. There Are No Guarantees the Lottery Process Is Fair

State lotteries are actually one of the most heavily scrutinized and regulated industries you’ll ever find, and this results in a very fair process. Advanced security and technology ensures that the drawings are conducted in a way that is fair to all, and this is what separates state lotteries from shady gambling on the corner of a street.

8. Playing the Same Numbers Improves the Chance of Winning

Some experienced lottery players will play the same numbers every week with the belief that it enhances the chances of winning in the long run. This is not true, unfortunately. Mathematically speaking, every time a drawing occurs, the odds of any number being drawn is the same as any other number.

9. It Is Important to Take Advantage of “Cold” Numbers

The idea behind choosing cold numbers is that a number that hasn’t been chosen for a while is bound to be picked sooner rather than later. However, statistically speaking, every number has the same chance as any other number every single time a drawing occurs. This is not backed up with a single bit of mathematical evidence, and the same principle holds true for anyone that believes in “hot” numbers as well.

10. The Lottery Creates Compulsive Gambling Habits

National surveys actually concluded that there is no affect on compulsive gambling rates due to the presence or absence of a lottery. Other studies suggest that compulsive gamblers want to play highly stimulating games that require great degrees of skill, which is not the case with the lottery. Even so, lotteries advise responsible play in almost all jurisdictions, showing that there is a genuine concern over compulsive gambling even if there is no evidence that points to the lottery as a cause of compulsive gambling.

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