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The Mega Millions jackpot (and why you are not being told the truth)

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https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/the-mega-millions-jackpot-and-why-you-are-not-being-told-the-truth

The Mega Millions jackpot (and why you are not being told the truth)

The Mega Millions jackpot drawing on Oct. 23 has soared to $1.6 billion...and counting.

In an effort to create jackpots like this one, lottery officials have not only made it harder to win, but have continued to lie to us about the benefits of the lottery.

About half of Americans play the lottery today according to the most recent survey, compared to almost 70 percent in the 1980s. That means the lottery needs to extract more money from fewer people, specifically from the lowest-income households, which spend on average $412 on tickets per year – more than 4 times the amount spent by the highest-income households.

In an effort to draw more people to the lottery, Mega Millions decided to decrease each person’s chance of winning in order to grow the jackpots. As the jackpot gets bigger, more people are willing to buy a ticket.

Before 2017, players picked five numbers between 1 and 75 and then one number between 1 and 15. Now, each player picks five numbers between 1 and 70 and then one number between 1 and 25.

This increases someone’s chance of matching five numbers and receiving some sort of prize, while decreasing the chance of winning the whole shebang.

What’s more, the price of a ticket has doubled.

So, your chance of winning has gone down, but if you lose (and you will), at least your money is going to a good cause – or so you've been told.

In the middle of the 20th century, when lotteries first started in the U.S., they were sold to states as a way to benefit the American public by providing additional funding for education.

This means that as the jackpots get bigger and people spend more money on it – $223 per year by the average American, in fact – there should be more money in state budgets to spend on education.

But that isn’t happening.

Most state legislatures haven’t been using the lottery money for additional education funding. Instead, they're using it to fund the basic education budget, and using the money that would normally fund education on other things altogether.  As a result, public schools rarely get a budget boost.

Mega Millions' profits are split between 46 lottery jurisdictions – 44 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Overall, 27 states earmark some or all lottery revenue for education.

In D.C., the lottery dollars go to a general fund; in Colorado, they fund environmental protections; and in Kansas, some of the money pays for juvenile detention facilities.

A recent study from the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research showed that many states – including California, Florida and Michigan – simply substitute lottery revenues for normal appropriations. As of 2016, North Carolina devoted a smaller portion of its total budget to education than it did before starting the lottery. 

With states like New York getting $3.3 billion in revenue from the lottery in 2016, that is a pretty big bait and switch. 

So now, not only do you have a smaller chance of winning (with a 1 in 300 million chance, you’re three times more likely to be killed by a vending machine), your $2 lottery ticket expense isn’t even going towards the good cause you were told it was.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to ax the lottery. But it does beg the question: Is lottery money a good thing for a state?

It does fund some government services, but it isn’t always clear exactly which ones. And the harm of gambling addiction must be taken into account.

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SkyMan

I never bought that "going to education" bs because I knew any lottery money going to education would get sucked off. 

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KID

But you would still buy a ticket if you could, wouldn't you :)

Edited by KID

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RangerUp

Wake me when it's 20 billion.

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Dafey
1 hour ago, SkyMan said:

I never bought that "going to education" bs because I knew any lottery money going to education would get sucked off. 

Actually both my kids received scholarships from the Lottery money. It really helped, otherwise they'd stay stupid like their old man! 

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Headshot
1 minute ago, Dafey said:

Actually both my kids received scholarships from the Lottery money. It really helped, otherwise they'd stay stupid like their old man! 

So you won the lottery. And people are always saying that nobody ever wins.

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broden
9 minutes ago, Dafey said:

Actually both my kids received scholarships from the Lottery money. It really helped, otherwise they'd stay stupid like their old man! 

yeah there were times my wife got grant money that was directly connected to the lottery.. i forget the exact names of the grant but it was named for the lottery

 

as far as playing the lottery.. just like anything else so long as you don't go overboard it's just a bit of fun.. and occasionally people win.. small and large amounts.. my Dad worked with a guy that won enough to retire back in the day.. a local guy here won 5 million recently as one of the smaller prizes.. my wife has won in bits and pieces 30/40 bucks here and there.. all things in moderation as they say

Edited by broden
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Edwin

I don't care where the lottery profits go. Tonight I joined seven other men to create the "Cheap Bastard's Lottery Pool". We put in 25 cents each to share one ticket. :thumbs_up:

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HeyMike

SHOW ME THE MONEY!!

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Janneo

Hmmm, what would one do with 1.6 billion? 

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Dafey
1 hour ago, Janneo said:

Hmmm, what would one do with 1.6 billion? 

I'd have no problem spending it all...Brings to mind an old Richard Prior movie, "Brewster's Mllions"

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rfm010
16 hours ago, Janneo said:

Hmmm, what would one do with 1.6 billion? 

Not telling.  But it went faster than i had expected.

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Jester

I play the lotto twice a week,  I buy advance play and do not have to go to the store for tickets. 

I don't smoke, drink or do drugs and do not want every penny of my money going to the P's so I waste a bit on the sucker tax!

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wondersailor
10 hours ago, Kabisay-an gid said:

Great for someone for my adopted state! And the state of South Carolina does do a great deal in scholarship aid with the money. It is rare to find a student who needs aid and hasn't gotten it in the state for post secondary education. Don't know about other states but I was impressed by South Carolina.

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