Winning Powerball Tickets Sold in Arizona and Missouri

 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/us/des…

If only this dream could become a reality…

America has been in a recession and sometimes the only hope that people can find is in the lottery—in this case, the Powerball. Last Thursday, some lucky Americans in Missouri and Arizona had the golden tickets, matching all six numbers to win $579.9 million. The article continues on to say that the prize is the largest it has ever been. It is amazing the amount of money that people are willing to spend on a lottery ticket (each Powerball ticket is two dollars) especially when their money could be put in so many other places. “On Wednesday alone, Floridians had spent more than $10 million by 2 p.m. on Powerball tickets.” However, the article continues to outline that these people knew that the chances of winning the Powerball were not good. So, why spend the money? The article even refers to one persons winnings saying, “Lighting can strike twice!” To me, spending two dollars on a lottery ticket is nothing but a waste of money especially in this economy when there are other places where two dollars could be useful and there is no way every person in America that is buying these lottery tickets doesn’t need those two dollars for rent or any other bill that they are obliged to pay. America NEVER ceases to amaze.

8 Comments »

  1. shawmi Said,

    December 4, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    While I agree that spending the two dollars is a waste of money, especially looking at it from a purely statistical standpoint, I think we have to take into consideration how tempting it is to throw your hat into the ring. It may not be the most practical to buy a lottery ticket, but if lightning were to strike, it would change the persons life enormously. Even though it is not likely at all to happen, the person is weighing “saving the 2 dollars and having an economic status that is relatively the same, maybe mildly improved because of being frugal” against “spending the 2 dollars and having a drastically changed economic status”. Of course, it is still incredibly unlikely, but I have to understand why people would buy a lottery ticket – “someone has to win”.

  2. Putri Avps Said,

    December 4, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    Sometimes, the best marketing strategy is to give hope. In this case, buyers can hope that they win. And in the short run, what is spending $4 to get millions of dollars anyway? It’s completely worth it. In the long run, of course, the money that you spend won’t really give you anything back…..unless you win – right?

    That’s the thing about lotteries. There will always be a chance for you to win, no matter how small that chance is. In America’s economic state right now, hope can become the only thing you can hold unto. So, as long as there’s still hope in buying lottery tickets, it will be difficult to see the big sunk costs that goes into it.

  3. Nicolep Said,

    December 4, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    I also agree with this article and how amazing it is that so many people choose to spend $2 on a lottery ticket rather than spend it elsewhere. This article directly connects with an example from chapter 21 of Cowen and Tabarrok when they talk about risk. In this case, many people are willing to risk losing $2 in hope they are the lucky ones that win the 579.9 million. I also agree with “shwami’s” comment that someone has to win. The lottery is obviously a huge amount of money and although your chances are not very high to win, they are higher if you buy a lottery ticket than if you dont. In that case, it’s worth a try.

  4. Tess VS Said,

    December 4, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

    I also agree with Nicole P., it is shocking that people are willing to spend so much on a lottery ticket instead of something else. I can understand investing only two dollars, because it is a low opportunity cost, you couldn’t do much with two dollars. One of the really surprising things is when people spend up to $450 dollars only on lottery tickets, it seems like a waste of money considering there is only one winning ticket.

    Like others brought up, many people may put their faith in the lottery now because they don’t have much else to have faith in. Given the economic state and high unemployment, many people are hoping to strike it big to survive.

  5. sudahs Said,

    December 5, 2012 @ 12:42 am

    I think you have to look at both sides of the gamble. The person winning the lottery (not necessarily the millionaire winner, but maybe a person who wins a scratch off) would probably say the $2 ticket was worth it. People who consistently lose would argue that the money is a waste. I personally think that people should, once they receive their paycheck (if they want to gamble), spend a set amount of money, such as $10, on a lottery ticket. Sure they can do something else with the $10, but I don’t think the loss of that amount of money is significant compared to the amount you could be winning, especially if you spent it on 10, $1 tickets.

  6. clementc Said,

    December 5, 2012 @ 2:36 am

    I think gambling is an addiction. Especially similar to cigarettes. If you ask a non-gambler and non-smoker what their view on gambling or smoking is, they will most likely tell you they think it is a waste of money. But to someone who believe luck will one day come their way, or is a tobacco user, they will most likely see it to be a good way to spend their money. There really is not a clear cut answer to either of these arguments. But as Slay S. said, If I were to gamble and play lottery I would put a cap on the amount I could spend on it each week/month.

  7. Matt C Said,

    December 5, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    As someone who has done this in the past, buying powerball tickets are worth it in my opinion. Throwing down $2 for a ticket is not that big of a deal. Although there is a good chance that you won’t win the grand prize of millions of dollars, there is a very high chance you can win a smaller sum of money. When the jackpot is that high why wouldn’t you throw down $2 and take the chance and if you happen to only get two of the numbers you are still succeeding and making money which in my eyes is worth it.

  8. galuchit Said,

    December 6, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    I find it compelling that someone would spend $450 on buying powerball tickets. I agree with Matt C, in that it is only $2 and when the jackpot is so high, why not. It all depends how you look at it; if your spending $450 or somewhere around there, then I agree with clement in that you have a gambling addiction. However, I feel if you do it once every so often for $2 then there is no kind of addiction there, just dreams one hopes to accomplish and achieve. Winning any sum of money in the powerball can change someone’s life and if they choose many other lives. So why not throw a couple bucks down every once in a while.

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