Friday, 23 November 2012

National Lottery: A Government Wealth Warning

I just met a guy buying a lottery ticket at a local mini supermarket I tried to talk him out of it, but it didn't work - he thinks he has lucky gypsy genes in him :-s . There must be ways of putting people off buying lottery tickets. At the very least I figure every lottery ticket should be a bit more honest and carry a government wealth warning. Something along the lines of:

"Play every week for 50,000 years and odds are: You'll win!"

 Well, it's the truth, (1-1/14million)^(52*50000) just lowers the chances of you losing to under 0.5. Actually, I just checked and it's not the truth, you really need to play for around 190,000 years.

Another way of looking at the National Lottery is that it's a tax on the less well off. To quote from the article 14% of the population play the lottery, but it's 36% of the less well-off (those earning < £20,000). Since those earning under £20K represent 50% of the population, that 36% represents pretty much every lottery player. Which gives plenty of scope for other warnings:

"Help fund the causes of richer people than you! Play the lottery Now!"

By and large that'd be true too. Simply at the level of not playing you benefit more in lottery-funded government initiatives and since I've never played it, I've benefited by roughly £14million*0.3*52*(2012-1994)/60million = £65 since its inception :-) Woohoo this leads me to my third warning!

"Don't play the Lottery and WIN EVERY WEEK!"

 I can't argue with that, but then I had a better idea. Why not get the top 25% of the population to pay for the lottery? This is how it'd work, the top 25% are taxed an extra £4 every week - no sweat, they can easily cope - and anyone who wants a lottery ticket can have a single ticket for free! Then the same rules apply for winnings, depending on how many numbers you get right and the other aspects such as government income and charity funding works as before. Brilliant, and all the money flows in the right direction! Best of all, it's no longer even gambling since you're not actually risking any money to gain a return!

What do you think? I think I'll call it, the Rational Lottery.