The Lottery How It Works


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The lottery is the term for state-run gambling. There are a number of different games, some unique to a particular state, some cross many borders. Many people dream of someday winning an enormous payout, but they do not necessarily know how the system works. If you are one of those daydreaming about what to do when you win the lottery, this overview should provide you with the ability to make wise choices.

The Odds

Most people have at least some awareness that the odds are somewhat stacked against them when playing the lottery. This is a fact for the scratch off tickets as well as the games involving the lotto balls. If you were to play the Powerball, for instance, your chances of winning are roughly 292 million to one. Not exactly a dependable retirement plan. The rate of return on lottery games is far lower than one would expect in order to explain the amount of time and money people invest attempting to win.

The Bait and Switch

As if the horrible odds are not enough of a negative side to the lottery, there is a rather manipulative bit of advertisement that goes into these games as well. If you are driving down the freeway and see a sign saying the payout for a lottery game is, as an example, 1 billion dollars, you might buy a ticket, assuming that if you win, that is what you will receive. That is only the case in a very specific set of circumstances, though. First, because many games allow participants to choose their own numbers, there could be multiple winners. Second, and this is the tricky bit of advertising, involves annuity vs lump sum lottery winning payments. The amount advertised is the greater amount, which is the lottery annuity payout, a choice that many individuals rebel at choosing. If a person were to opt for a lump sum, their award sees a drastic reduction. People can, and do, argue about which possibility is better or wiser, blaming the choice to opt for a lump sum for many problems, but the fact remains that institutions deliberately mislead people, which is troubling in a state-run program.

If, after reading this, you still choose to try your luck with the lottery, good luck, and play wisely. If you are one the fortunate few that wins, make your choice to either receive an annuity or opt for a lump sum carefully, and never without an outside opinion, either of someone you trust or a professional. Large amounts of money can make people do some unwise things. Consider wisely so your dream can be all you hoped.

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