Whenever the lottery nears or reaches record levels, there is always a lot of conversation about the $2 dream. People buy a ticket and think of all the things they can buy or do or who they could help. So what’s wrong with a $2 dream? Nothing and everything.
When I started my teaching career, I worked at Sears Delivery to earn a few extra dollars. One of my co-workers worked part-time, his wife was an aide at a nursing home, and they had three kids. They didn’t have the proverbial pot… They were spending $100/month on state lottery tickets. At that time, the biggest prizes were $1,000 and $5,000. I asked him how they fared and he said they usually cleared half, which I doubt. I told him that if he put that $100/month in a bank, at the end of the year he’d be a $1,000 winner. He’d have $1,200 in the bank. But they gambled away their diaper and food money.
I remember watching a man drop $60 from the time I ordered a sub sandwich, to the time I received it. He looked like he could ill afford my sandwich, let alone the $60. I watched a woman drop money all afternoon in a video lottery machine. People go to casinos and spend hours and hours, days and days throwing money away.
Gambling is community and entertainment for many people, but it is set up for people to lose. Intermittent reinforcement is tremendously controlling. The way the video gambling games are structured pulls people in and empties their wallets. It’s powerfully addicting.
So what’s wrong with gambling? Why worry about people spending their money on machines or tickets or games of chance?
- There is so much else that could be done with the money. Give it to a church or nonprofit or the family next door.
- People say, “Someone has to win the money.” True, but I love this quote I just heard. “Not buying a ticket only slightly decreases your chances of winning.” People don’t want to hear the math – you’re not going to win. And if you do, 70% of the people who win the big lottery end up bankrupt. We don’t accept any of this because it’s the $2 dream.
- The wrong people are making all the money. Half goes to the winner, some to state governments, but huge percentages go to make the companies, people, and, in some cases, nasty people rich.
- People complain about taxes and that churches/nonprofits are always asking for money, but think nothing of dropping hundreds or thousands down the gambling toilet.
We are addicted to gambling. Our state budgets rely on “stupid tax.” People impact their families by gambling. There are so many better places for your money. What’s wrong with the $2 dream? Nothing or everything?