7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Play the Lottery

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Why I Hate the Lottery

Winning the lottery has crossed everyone’s minds at some point. Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about what you’d buy and what you’d pay off if your ticket happened to list all the winning numbers.

Personally, I only buy big lottery tickets once in a blue moon.
Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal of time learning about gambling games, and now, I know just how bad the lottery is.

In fact, it’s one of the worst gambling options available—if not the worst. But I still play because of that small, infinitesimal chance that I could potentially gain a win.

Regardless of my pipe dreams, here are seven reasons why you shouldn’t play the lottery. After you read the reasons why, you’re going to understand exactly how it’s one of the worst gambling options available.

1 – 100 Scratch-Off Choices

Have you looked at the racks of scratch-off lottery tickets recently? Some places I have been to offer over 100 different scratch-off tickets available.

You can buy $1 tickets, $2 tickets, and everything up to $20 tickets. And each ticket has a different prize structure, so you can win up to $500 on one ticket, and maybe up to $100,000 on another.

The large selection leads some gamblers to believe that they can alter their chances of winning based on what ticket they choose. And even if you’re down to your last dollar, you can buy a ticket and hope to get lucky.

I personally hate scratch-off tickets because they have the same terrible odds as the big draw tickets you buy, and you don’t even have the chance to win a big prize. $100,000 is nothing to sneeze at, but it pales in comparison to $10,000,000 or more.

Why take the risk if you can’t even win a huge prize? This is the main reason why I hate scratch-off lottery tickets.

2 – Crushing My Dreams

I’m sure you’ve dreamt a whole lot of scenarios about how your life would change if you finally got that big win. I think most lottery players dream about this. And the truth is that having this dream makes it worth buying a ticket for some people.

Lottery Ticket

But these dreams get crushed as soon as the results are released. At this point, you realize that you didn’t win, so your life is exactly like it was before you bought the ticket. The only difference is that you now have less money than you had before you bought a ticket.

The lottery is going to crush your dreams every time you buy a ticket. And even though it only seems like a few dollars, it adds up over time. You can easily spend $100 or more every year playing the lottery, even if you don’t play too much. And you can buy a lot of different things with $100.

3 – The Worst Odds in Gambling

Lottery tickets have the worst odds in gambling. The way to compare gambling games on even footing is to look at either the return to player percentages or the house edge. The return to player percentage for most lottery games is 50% or under.

In fact, many lottery games have a return to player percentage of less than 30%.

When you compare this to games offered in casinos, you can quickly see just how bad the lottery is. Keno is usually the worst game in a casino, and the return to player for keno games is usually between 65% and 75%.

Some casino games have a return to player number higher than 99%, and there are many different games that return over 95%.

You’re better off playing any game in the casino than playing the lottery. But you have to be careful, because most lottery players spend $10 or less per day. And many casino players risk $1,000 or more every time they go to the casino.

4 – $3 Tickets

In the last section, you learned about how bad the return to player percentage is on the lottery. The low return to player number is terrible, but it’s even worse than most people think.

The reason why it’s even worse is you usually have to invest $2 or $3 to play. And when you invest more, it doesn’t increase the amount you can win.

If you can invest $1 for a big prize, the return to player is terrible. If you have to invest $2, it’s the same as cutting the return in half. And when you bet $3, it’s the same as cutting it to a third.

I don’t know how to say it many more ways, but the lottery is a terrible thing to play. You have almost no chance to win because the odds are so bad, and you usually have to risk more than $1 so they become even worse.

5 – Only One Big Prize

As you learned in an earlier section, the odds are really stacked against you when you play the lottery. In the big draw lottery games, there are usually no top winning tickets sold, or just one top prize-winning ticket.

I’ve often thought that I’d rather have a better chance of winning a great prize than an almost nonexistent chance to win a huge prize. But the truth is that even if they set the games up this way, the odds would still be terrible.


For example, if you have a 1 in 300,000,000 chance of winning a $100,000,000 prize, you’re not likely to win no matter how much you play. If they designed a game that gave out 100 $1,000,000 prizes, which is the same amount of money as the big draw example I just used, and the odds of winning were 1 in 3,000,000, you’re probably still never going to win.

The best way to avoid losing money playing the lottery is to never play. Any other strategy is going to cost you money.

6 – Constant Temptation

I don’t live in a highly-populated area, so you have to drive a little bit to get to town. We have plenty of gas stations, but not as many as you find in a big city. The most common place to buy lottery tickets where I live is in a gas station, though there are a few other places to buy them.

Every gas station that I drive by has the jackpot amount listed in big red numbers for each of the big draw lottery games. You can’t go to town without seeing how much you can win if you get lucky.

I’m pretty good at blocking things out, but I’ve never been able to completely ignore the lottery signs. They’re constantly there tempting me to put down a few bucks in hopes of winning enough money that I could disappear forever if I wanted.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have a choice to either buy a ticket or drive on by. But the constant temptation isn’t helping.

7 – It’s Too Easy to Play

In the last section, I explained how you usually can’t go to town without driving by a few places where you can buy lottery tickets. This is pretty much the situation everywhere I travel, whether it’s in my state or another state.

Buying a lottery ticket is as easy as buying a pack of chewing gum or bottle of pop. All you have to do is take your money to the counter and ask. While I don’t recommend real money gambling of any kind at a young age, I don’t think most places around where I live even check if you’re old enough to buy lottery tickets.

The businesses that run the lottery make it as easy as possible to buy tickets. It’s fast and easy because they know that this helps them sell more tickets.

When you combine the constant temptation with making it as easy to buy tickets as possible, it leads to huge profits for the states that run the games. You need to have a great deal of self discipline to avoid buying a lottery ticket at least every once in a while.


If you want to play lottery games you have hundreds of choices. The big draw games like Mega Millions and the Powerball get most of the press, but there are many different types of scratch off tickets, daily games like pick 3 and pick 4, and even pull-tab tickets available in some places.

The main thing that all lottery games have in common is that they offer terrible odds. You lose a higher percentage of the money you invest in lottery tickets than any casino game. Yet billions are wagered on the lottery every year.

The reasons listed above are pretty good reasons as to why you shouldn’t partake in lottery games. The chances of getting a huge return are little to none.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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