In the US, people spent upwards of $100 billion on lottery tickets in 2021, making it a massive part of our culture. And states promote the lottery as a way to raise money for public purposes, such as education and roads. But just how much of that revenue is actually used for good, and is it worth the trade-offs that come with playing?
There is, of course, an inextricable human impulse to gamble. And it’s also hard to resist the siren call of that improbable sliver of hope that you’ll finally win the lottery. In an age of inequality and limited social mobility, lotteries dangle the possibility of instant riches as a way up the ladder.
If you’re planning on playing, don’t buy your tickets with a sequence of numbers that are close together or ones associated with a special date (like your birthday). This can decrease your chances. Instead, pool your money with friends or family to purchase more tickets. This can improve your odds, too.
But even if you do happen to win, don’t flaunt it. Showing off can make other people bitter and may cause them to come after you or your property. And a sudden influx of wealth can change your life dramatically, which can be difficult to adjust to. It’s important to remember that true wealth isn’t something you can just flip a switch on; it takes decades of work. And if you’re not careful, that wealth can go away in a matter of years.