The Mega Millions jackpot ballooned to a $640 million jackpot today. I normally don’t pay attention to any lottery jackpots, but this one has interfered with my gas station experience. I know that normal people pay at the pump, but I was in need of a fountain soda, so I rocked the “inside pay.” I had to wait in a line of 10 people to pay for my delicious diet coke and gas. Did I mention that I had the more teeth than the entire group combined?
The odds of winning the lottery is 1 in 176 million. Those odds do not change, no matter if one person is playing or a group of 176 million people. The odds of you winning the lottery is less than dying in a plane crash. As a person who doesn’t enjoy flying, I take great joy in that statistic.
I grew up in Indiana and have lived my life there and in Ohio. My parents are from Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, so I know a thing or two about hillbillies. I was only around my close family for most of my childhood and I used to rock a Southern twang. Powerball was first introduced in Indiana in the late 1980s. I remember that all of my family used to buy lotto tickets and/or scratch-offs every week. After a few years of witnessing this happen, no one in my family was ever made into a millionaires. A cousin of mine won a few hundred dollars on a scratch-off and my family’s investment in the lottery did spike for a short period. It wasn’t until I was in 9th grade and my Algebra II teacher (I used to be smart) explained the odds of winning the lottery. He made it seem like it was idiotic that anyone would ever buy a ticket.
Why is the majority of people who buy lottery tickets in the lower income bracket and/or the lowest education level? I blame “The Beverly Hillbillies” television show. I know that the show hasn’t been on for decades, but the ideology of hitting “Texas Tea” is still prevalent in today’s generation. The Clampetts were redneck hillfolk who lived on land that was rich with oil. The newly-rich family moved to Beverly Hills and the entire television series revolved around their inability to adapt to their surroundings. The show was very entertaining and it seemed to start a trend that anyone could strike it rich and it became the new American dream.
I know that a portion of the lottery earnings goes back into infrastructure and schools, but it still seems wrong. If the 1% paid their fair share of taxes, the lottery wouldn’t have to go to those needs. The lottery wouldn’t have to pander to the low-income population. They would never admit to this since they tag every ad with “Play Responsibly,” yet they show people winning all throughout the commercial. It relays a skewed vision and percentage of winners. If each commercial listed the odds of winning are 1 in 176 million…would anyone ever play?
I will not win the Mega Millions jackpot tonight. Someone will win the lottery tonight, only because nearly everyone I know has a lottery ticket (probably not one of my friends). I don’t feel bad that I’m not “in it to win it,” because” I like my odds of flying in an airplane.