Lotto: A Dream That Won't Come True
Hoping To Be a Lottery Winner!
Off Track Betting Parlor
Now that the hoopla surrounding the $195 million Powerball drawing has faded, perhaps we can put aside our temporary insanity awhile and venture back to the real world.
We in the Nutmeg state have been among the pioneers of legal, widespread gambling.
But it was politically popular during the last few decades to oppose the extension of gambling in Connecticut. Despite that, we offer any number of forms of betting today, including two jai alai frontons, two dog tracks and innumerable Off Track Betting parlors.
We've come a long way, baby, from the days Connecticut was well-known for its Blue Laws! In those days, only a few decades ago, legal gambling was virtually nonexistent here.
Very little business was transacted on Sundays, when only a handful of stores were open for business.
We often humor ourselves these days by coughing up a dollar or two for Lotto tickets -- and for some people, a lot more -- understanding it to be "a shot in the dark."
Some of our neighbors, however, are childlike in their gullibility -- unthinking dreamers who buy the notion that all their problems could be solved if only they could get lucky.
Unfortunately, many spend more money than they can afford, buying a pig in a poke.
Sure, there's a winner, but at what cost? Millions have their dreams shattered once-a-week at least, and government should hang its ugly head in shame!
The recent Powerball jackpot ticket sold in south Wisconsin was worth a world's record $195 million, but the lone winner chose to take immediate payout, or the true value of the ticket, $104.3 million.
I rarely buy Powerball tickets, but it's not because I don't like to gamble; the truth is, I enjoy gambling. It's just that my idea of gambling is more like 10 to 1, or sometimes 500 to 1 odds -- not 80 million to 1.
Personally, if I were going to put out my cold, hard cash for a wager, I would want to have a real chance of winning, not merely a dream.
In Powerball, or the state Lotto, buying a ticket, or a handful of tickets -- or even a barrelful -- provides a "chance" mathematicians would describe as "statistically insignificant."
When people ask why I don't buy a Powerball or Lotto ticket, I always tell them, "I've got just as much chance of finding $1 million in a parking lot as you do of cashing in a $1 million Lotto ticket."
What does it say about the rest of us when we can stand by and watch thousands of honest Americans, if not millions, hoodwinked into thinking they have a "chance" at restructuring their lives by winning millions of dollars in the lottery?
We would all be far better off buying a ticket on our future by wisely investing the hundreds of millions of dollars we waste on lottery tickets every year.
Now that's a real chance!
I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on June 27, 1998. The three jai alai frontons that had existed in Connecticut no longer exist. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.