Who Are the Nation's Biggest Suckers? Lottery Players

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Who Are the Nation's Biggest Suckers? Lottery Players"Winning the lottery represents the most practical way [for me] to accumulate several hundred thousand dollars."

Seriously? The "most practical"? Crazy as that may sound, a few years back, the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association published a joint survey revealing that yes, indeed, 21% of American adults agreed with the statement.

Admittedly, in a nation plagued by high and rising public debt, 8% unemployment, and inflation hitting food costs and gas prices, it's understandable that people might believe winning the lottery was their only chance at an "out."

It's understandable ... but wrong. The truth is that getting rich from winning the lottery isn't just unlikely. It's (statistically) impossible.

Billion-Dollar Losing Bets

A recent report out of Bloomberg declares citizens of the state of Georgia some of "the biggest suckers" in America.

Collectively, Peach State inhabitants spent $3.4 billion on lottery tickets over the past year -- an average of $470.73 per adult. That amounted to a full 1% of their annual income, ensuring the state a high ranking on Bloomberg's "sucker index." But it was its low rate of winning lottery payouts (62.9%) that really pushed Georgia over the top and won it the biggest-sucker prize.

Stop chortling, Yankees. With 1.3% of personal income going to its state lottery, Massachusetts is No. 1; New York is No. 3 for lottery-ticket buying. California and Delaware rank among the least generous states for payouts.

Pathetic "Winning" Payouts

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, seven U.S. states don't run lotteries at all: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Utah, Wyoming, and (shocker!) Nevada. Of the 43 states that do run lotteries, the average payout is just under 60% of the revenue dollars collected.

That's an important number. You see, rankings aside, whenever you're talking lotteries, true "winners" are few and far between.

According to Bloomberg's study, state-run lotteries "have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling" in America. They're so bad that when you play the lottery in Louisiana, over time you're going to average $0.51 in "winnings" for every dollar you pay to play. The best odds in the nation can be found in Massachusetts, but even up there you're looking at a $0.72 payback on each $1 lottery ticket. And the average payout is just $0.60.

Now, let's compare the odds of taking home one of those big jackpots to the odds of some other activities:

  • Getting pregnant from a one-night stand: 1 in 20
  • Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 10,000
  • Dying in an airplane crash: 1 in 355,318
  • Being dealt a royal flush in a given hand of poker: 1 in 655,750
  • Dying from a flesh-eating bacteria: 1 in 1 million.
  • Winning the California Super Lotto Jackpot: 1 in 18 million.


14 Days to Broke

What does all this mean to you? Well, say you're a happy-go-lucky guy with $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket. You decide to "invest" this money in lottery tickets, and keep on reinvesting the proceeds of your bets to buy even more lottery tickets.

How long do you think you could keep this game rolling? Let's play:

If you buy $1,000 worth of $1 lottery tickets on Day 1, then statistically speaking, the average lottery payout of 60% means you'll have $600 left to spend on Day 2.

Spend that $600 on Day 2, and by Day 3, you're down to $360.

Keep going, and by Day 14, you will have (on average) just $0.78 left jingling in your pocket.

In other words, two weeks of playing the lottery has left you too broke to afford a single lottery ticket. You've gambled away nearly every cent you started with.

It's no wonder Bloomberg calls it the "Sucker Index."

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Bill Stehl

Thank you for setting all of us suckers straight....Just to make sure, If we NEVER ride a plane, we don't have to sweat plane crashes? If we avoid sex, we will not be responsible for an unwanted pregnancy.?
Long story-short, If we never play a lotto, we will never win-nor, will we ever lose? Wonderful. Now what about those who do win, where do they fit into your nice, comfortable equation??

PS Saving the cost of a lottery ticket to a retirement fund is not what it's about....It's the DREAM. Deep down inside,most lottery players do not expect to win the big prize, but are content with the occassional small win- it's like playing the horses, the numbers or Poker with the boys on Friday night(Or the girls on Thursdays.) (I know people who play both the government "NUMBER" as well as the "street" number. Human nature being what it is will always find a way to gamble for a dream of great riches.
When I was a kid growing up in NYC the big thing was The Irish Sweepsteaks. There were gang wars over Sweeps territories. Now, most have never heard of the Irish Sweeps...Lotto took it's place.

March 17 2014 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joel.romel

How I Made 169,000 In Just 60 Days! & Why I Will Help You Do The Same For Free! http://tinyurl.com/Welcome-To-Success

January 24 2013 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
list82@yahoo.com

Lottery Winning Formula is a completely interactive website that helps you to predict and pick the winning numbers for every lottery game your state or country offers. We use a sophisticated strategy that takes your lottery's past results and calculates the most likely numbers to hit next. Our website is easy to use and fun to use, sign up today and start picking the winning numbers! http://tinyurl.com/Wining-Formula

January 23 2013 at 8:00 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to list82@yahoo.com's comment
joel.romel

Thanks this is nice!

January 24 2013 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeannie

ok what the odds of winning Publishers Clearing House

April 20 2012 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeannie's comment
merstockgto

That is as bad or worse than lotto.

December 13 2013 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

No. The biggest suckers are those who buy cell phones and ipads! What a con job!

April 04 2012 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to David's comment
merstockgto

Lotto is a suckers game and you are right. So are these cell phones and all that electronic crap people cannot seem to put down at any time. What a waste of funds.

December 13 2013 at 12:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
redsoxloverswb

What's shocking about Nevada not running a lottery? Who would be stupid enough to fall for that scam, when the state already has plenty of Honest gambling available? The writer of this story really needs to have a grown up edit his next piece of work!

April 03 2012 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

I think most folks know the long odds. They play for fun.

April 03 2012 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dan's comment
merstockgto

I cannot grasp the thought of losing money as being fun.

December 13 2013 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RICHARD BONNET

TELL THAT TO THE WINNERS.

April 02 2012 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RICHARD BONNET's comment
merstockgto

Yeah right, and you will win of course, NOT

December 13 2013 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SEMVNACKE

You WRINKLED PALE FACED losers are all suckers...Now go BACK TO EUROPE SO WE RED FOLKS CAN HAVE OUR COUNTRY BACK...

April 02 2012 at 3:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SEMVNACKE's comment
oftheworld

Now that's a fact!

October 30 2012 at 2:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
skennedysw

While I have purchesed a few lottery tickets and put a few quarters in slot machines, I am sure I have not wagered in my entire life (60 years) as much as the average resident of Georgia or Massachusetts does in a year. If I were to lose money gambling I could rationalize that if I lose it in a state lottery I am at least contributing to worthy programs that would otherwise not be funded. I would also not be too resentful losing money in an American Indian casino since lets face it, these people have suffered a lot since 1492, having had an entire hemisphere, all their wealth and their cultures taken from them through force and violence. Who is going to begrudge them their casino winnings? On the other hand when you lose your money in a Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino it goes to lowlifes like Donald Trump which would make me unhappy.

April 01 2012 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to skennedysw's comment
merstockgto

If you think that a lot of the lotto money goes to educationn you are in for a rude awakening. Very little money goes to education and that is a fact. People are led to believe that but it is BS. If it were true how come education is so lacking in funds all of the time.

December 13 2013 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply