Is Playing the Lottery a Bad Idea?



A lottery is a process by which prizes are awarded to people who buy tickets. The prize money is usually in the form of cash or goods. Lotteries have been around since ancient times.

Americans spend about $80 Billion on the lottery every year – that is over $600 per household! This could be better spent on building emergency funds or paying down credit card debt. In rare cases, a lottery winner can find themselves worse off than before winning the jackpot.

Generally, playing the lottery is a bad idea because it is a high-cost, low-return activity. However, for some individuals the entertainment value of the game is sufficient to outweigh the disutility of a monetary loss, and the lottery may therefore be an acceptable form of gambling for them.

In colonial America, public lotteries helped finance a wide range of private and public projects, including roads, bridges, canals, libraries, churches, colleges, and even military expeditions. Lotteries were also a common method of raising funds during the French and Indian Wars.

While there are some who play the lottery because they simply like to gamble, the real problem is that lotteries are promoting the illusion of quick riches in an age of growing inequality and limited social mobility. The biblical teaching is that wealth is earned through diligent work, and not given by chance (Proverbs 23:5). If you’re looking for a surefire way to get rich, we suggest you skip the lottery and instead start investing in your savings.