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Mega Millions coming to Florida

…Does Florida need another lotto?

When it comes to the lottery, we are now complete: The Florida Lottery announced Thursday that it is adding Mega Millions to its portfolio of games. (SouthFlorida.com)

So “Mega Millions” is a multi-state lotto game where jackpots start at $12 million and keep climbing until someone wins. There are also non-jackpot prizes that go up to $250,000.  This is a pick 5 numbers, from 1 to 56 plus one more number that is called the Mega Ball®.  You’re a winner if you match all 5 plus the Mega Ball.

I live in Florida and I’m unsure of whether there is a need for another lottery, we have a multi-state lottery now, the Power Ball®.  I fear that with another lotto in the state, the economy in the crapper and more and more people feeling desperate, people with hopes of winning will spend even more of their hard earned money.

The Consumerist recently had an interesting post about a study that shows that poor households, with annual take-home incomes under $13,000, on average, spend $645 a year on lottery tickets, which comes to about 9% of their yearly income.

If these people would take that 9% of their income and just put it in savings, chances are they would be much better off in 5 a few years than if they had wasted the money on playing the lotto.

I understand the appeal of playing the lotto, the thought that if you could just hit the jackpot you would be set for life and all your problems solved.  I’m not going to repeat the trite saying “Money doesn’t make you happy” that was obviously said by someone who has never been without money. I don’t personally play the lotto.  I just don’t think the odds are good enough for me to spend the money.  But in my situation, we don’t have the disposable income; I suppose if we did I would play occasionally.  According to Powerball’s website, the odds of winning the jackpot is 1 in 195,249,054.  …those odds don’t get me excited.

It’s hard to ignore the hype, I get it.  When you see advertisements and billboards touting $200+ million dollar jackpots it gets hard to resist.  Even knowing you’d be better off just burning your money, it’s easy to understand why people with no cash would take the chance for the possibility of having more cash than you would know what to do with.

So is it a good thing that Florida is getting another lotto?  Personally, I don’t think so.  While I sure it generates money for the State, it just seems that lotteries in general prey on the poorest of our people, people who are desperate and the lottery is seemingly fueling this desperation.  It’s just sad to me.

But the lottery is being served to a willing public.  If the people didn’t want it, it would go away.

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