Letter from 2012-11-24

The other night, our family got into this huge conversation about the Powerball lottery game. Currently, the jackpot is $325 million with a lump sum payout of $212 million. What I find interesting is not only the conviction that people have for playing or not playing the lottery but the commonality that everyone shared when it came to spending the winnings…

Here’s my disclaimer, I don’t really play the lottery all that often. So, I’m looking up my facts from… I’m just saying 🙂

The first half, playing the lottery…

The catch phrase, or tagline, from the Ohio Lottery is “Play Responsibly”. What does that really mean? I know people that religiously play some form of the lottery every day. But, as a novice, which game do I play?

I have a friend that would play Keno 3-5 times a week. The trick with this game is that unlike the ‘regular’ lotteries, this game gives new numbers every 4 minutes. The minimum to play is $1. If you average playing for 2 hours, that’s $30 per ‘play’. But, who plays only $1? The odds of winning the highest level is 1 in 9.05
The Classic Lotto current payout $22 million. The odds of winning the jackpot is 1 in 13,983,816.
The Megaball current payout $49 million. The odds of winning the jackpot is 1 in 175,711,536.
The Powerball current payout $325 million. The odds of winning the jackpot is 1 in 175,223,510.
Then there are the daily games and the scratch off games and there’s even a TV show!!!

Looking at the type of payouts versus the odds, the bank will always win. So ‘Play Responsibly’? Yes, it is a game and should never be treated as a lifestyle. If you are debating about paying a bill or playing the lottery then you need counseling, seriously.

The second half, winning the lottery…

Now that we’ve gotten pass which game and how much to play, what are you going to do with your winnings? Oh wait… before you get the money are you going to go on TV and tell everybody that you’re a gazillionaire? Yes? No? Who knows? Just give me my check!!! Most of the people that were talking the other day were Christians and all agreed to pay tithes. Not everyone agreed where these tithes would be paid or how much these entities would get. Most also agreed to support their immediate family with ‘a little something’. But after that here is what’s interesting to me… one person said that they’d keep working and put the money in the bank for a year so they could figure out what to do with the money. One person said they would open a business providing social services. One person said they would buy property as a family estate and offer rental properties to family members. And finally, one person said that they would buy a maid and a baby tiger…

My true comment is on the last speaker. Why do you want to ‘buy a maid’, if you have no house of your own? What is the maid going to do? The question was asked “Why ‘buy’ a maid? How about ‘hire’ one?”. The speaker was very adamant about this. They wanted to BUY a maid. And, why a ‘baby tiger’? I don’t know if you even like cats… and babies grow up!!!!

Gambling has become a greater influence on many of our lives. Here in Ohio, we just opened 3 new casinos and the horse racing track down the street has a casino, as well. The allure of winning that jackpot for millions is ever present. But, honestly, if you get a $5,000 tax return and it’s gone in 60 seconds then what happens with $50,000 or $50 million? The prize will be temporal because you can’t handle it. You’ll be just another one of those people that HAD millions. God will not put any more on you than we can bear and no good thing will He withhold from you. The bible says to seek first the kingdom and it’s righteousness; and everything else will be added. So, make sure to pray before you play…

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,

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