The Dark Side of Lottery

A competition based on chance, in which numbered tickets are sold and prizes, such as money or goods, are awarded to the holders of winning numbers drawn at random. Lotteries may be organized by private individuals, governments, or charities. The word lottery derives from the Latin sortilegij, meaning “casting of lots.”

Lottery is a major source of revenue for state governments and over 100 countries around the world, raising over $80 billion in 2012 alone. It’s also a powerful marketing tool, with huge jackpots and enticing television commercials luring people who don’t gamble to try their luck. But, like all gambling, Lottery comes with a dark side.

For one, the odds of winning aren’t really any better than in a game of roulette. While most lottery players assume that playing more often or larger amounts will increase their chances, this is not true. According to the rules of probability, each ticket has an independent probability that is not affected by either frequency or amount of play. Plus, winning the jackpot would mean you’d have to spend a fortune on taxes. In fact, if you win the Powerball or Mega Millions, federal and state taxes can eat up more than half of your prize. That’s why it’s important to consider your tax situation before playing.