Lottery Tickets: A Tax on Stupid People, or…

...a small price to pay for a glimmer of hope?

You be the judge.

I just set a calendar reminder to buy a Powerball ticket during lunch, so you should definitely judge me. I allocated one full hour for this task because I have to make sure I have time for my ritual 58 minutes of post-lottery-ticket-purchase wishlist creation of things I’d buy/do first if I actually won. I won’t detail this list today but know that it involves a panda, real estate, and a WWII-era blimp. I don’t want to detract from the point of this post: enticing you to click through to the Most Incredible FAQ Ever Published By a Quasi-Government Entity. Highlights below, but I highly encourage you to consult the primary source. And better yet, read “Real Letters.”

FROM STEWART N: What do you think about the number 19?
I like it. An odd mix of the smallest number and the largest - together in one package. It speaks to the extremes of the Universe and yet shows how they can be inexorably tied.

It is also unique in that both numbers are formed by a single constant line (using standard type). One line straight; the other curving before coming down to the base line - not so distant cousins - and neither one having a family relation with any other number. The "4" has mutliple stops and abrupt changes in directions with its multiple line formation and the "2", "3", "5", and "7" have their sudden starts and stops.

Although a mere number, as humans, we can't but help to tie it to other numbers by which we judge ourselves.

As an age number it is greatly important; the first step from being a "teenager" to becoming a "young adult". In fact, the shapes of the numbers suggest a relationship between youth and age - the straight erect youth next to the bent and wizened old-timer standing together - as if sharing the secrets of life (though "1" will certainly not listen).

I would have to put "19" up there as a major number; a number among numbers. Yes, I definitely like "19".

FROM Debora W: i don't remember my powerball numbers. my name is debora w----
The number is on your Powerball ticket. Your ticket is under the seat of your car, between the seat and the car door.

CAN I BUY POWERBALL TICKETS THROUGH THE INTERNET?
...No one can sell lottery tickets by mail or over the Internet across state lines or the U.S. national border. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that web site. Or that one. You really don't need to send me questions about a specific site. Like all others, that one also cannot legally sell lottery tickets across a state border or the U.S. border. No... If it ever does become legal, we will sell tickets here. No.

IS THERE A SECRET TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING POWERBALL?
Yes. There is a way to improve your chance of winning the dual-drum games (Powerball, Mega-Millions, Hot Lotto, and Wild Card). But you have to promise to keep the secret – called THE BIG SECRET TO WINNING POWERBALL -- between you and me.

First, we need to cover some things that don’t work. Swinging a live chicken above your head while wishing for the future numbers does NOT work. There is no improvement to be had by swinging a dead chicken. Although I have not tested it, swinging a bucket of extra crispy is not likely to work either...

DO POWERBALL TICKETS EXPIRE?
Yes. The Universe is decaying and nothing lasts forever.

I GOT AN EMAIL SAYING THAT I WON THE LOTTERY; IS IT LEGITIMATE?

NO. It is a common scam. We get over 100 emails each week asking this question. We get over 100 telephone calls each week asking this question. this has gone on for the last several years. We even get emails sent here telling us that we've won the Powerball. You never have to send money to collect a legitimate lottery prize. You should never reply to these emails. You should never send money to these people. You should never give your bank account number or your mother's maiden name to anyone. You should never run with scissors.

YOUR ODDS / PROBABILITIES ARE WRONG.
Are not.”

Comments

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  • On the Internet, you are wrong. Illinois got permission to sell lottery tickets over the Internet. I provide this link not for advertising purposes, but as proof.

    In that it was reported yesterday that someone found a winning ticket in his glove compartment, there is at least another Deborah W out there.

    I say that the lottery is a tax on the mathematically impaired. Then they threw in Fireball, without really explaining if you get your money's worth for doubling your bet.

    Finally, if "anything is possible," tell Andy Richter to send me the humongous jackpot without me spending the $2.00.

  • thanks for the info! agreed on all this...

    i am embarrassed to admit i have purchased a lotto ticket online before, so count me in the mathematically impaired bunch.

    i have no idea what this 'fireball' is but to be consistently irrational, it sounds like i should buy in.

  • In reply to pintotowncar:

    To the extent I understand it, if you buy a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you can spend another $1 and get a Fireball. If the winning number is 123, and the drawn Fireball is 8, then you can substitute the 8 for the other digits, and, for instance, 823, 183, and 128 also win.

    However, a blank fireball can be drawn, and TV stations other than Channel 9.1 don't announce the fireball.

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