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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mega Millions mania too much to ignore

I broke down this morning and, for the first time ever, bought a Mega Millions ticket.
Two, actually.
“Do you want to pick the numbers, or do you want the machine to pick them?” asked Maura Pulver Millar, the new owner of Five Points Grocery.
Ugh. I was going to just grab a machine-generated quick pick. But how would I ever forgive myself if the family birthdays came in?
So, I ended up with one quick pick and one with birthdays and the house address. Hey, that doubles my chances — right? Millar says she heard that one has a better chance of being elected president — when you’re not on the ballot. Meanwhile, she’s been selling five times the normal volume of tickets for this game, which is drawn twice a week.
I read in The Saratogian this morning to secure your ticket by signing the back right away, which I did while still in the store. Then I tucked them in my wallet, which I have obsessively and compulsively checked this morning to reconfirm their whereabouts.
I am not, however, quitting my day job.
Like all lotteries, they’re set up for the house — that is, the government — to win.
I find it appalling that the government encourages people to gamble, and, in fact, counts on the revenue. It reflects poorly on our values as a society. The odds are stacked against the bettors. Yet a few people win enough here and there to incite that “dollar and a dream” mentality. Enough people are interested in the lotteries to run the drawing results daily in our print edition (with the Gamblers’ Anonymous hotline in fine type).
It is exciting to win a million bucks, or even a few hundred grand. Yet I feel a bit uncomfortable when I have The Saratogian, like most media, splash the exciting “news” with the happy winner receiving their oversized check.
To be honest, I wouldn’t mind posing.

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Blogger Tucker said...

As Warren Buffet said, "Lotteries are a tax on ignorance."

April 2, 2012 at 10:24 AM 

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