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Feeling Lucky?

Observing the GOOD, the BAD, the UGLY, and downright confusing aspects of Lottery


Let the Dreams Begin

Its hard to imagine what $70,000,000 looks like. If you've ever seen Wolf of Wall Street, or just about any feature starring organized crime, you might recall the cumbersome process of merely transporting the stuff. In $100 bills, one-million dollars would stuff a standard briefcase with 22 pounds in weight. Which means the top LottoMax payout would fill your living room with over fifteen hundred lbs in cold-hard cash. So, If you're anything like me, you might be wondering… Can I swim in it?

Now try to imagine spending all that, and Its even more of a challenge: You could, (with some calculated exuberance) build a 7-million dollar custom dream home, and perhaps a 3-million dollar vacation home. Then shop around a cool 2.5-million dollars to fill your garages with novelty vehicles to show off and tinker around with. And then you could go on vacation for a year, spending $1,500,000 exploring everywhere you'd ever hoped to see. And then maybe you'll consider some social investment in the form of new toys, debt-relief and shared-experiences for friends and family. $3 million should do. Another million in personal toys, and extravagance, and finally another 2 million toward your favorite charities. At which point you'd be left with $50-million plus nearly everything you'd ever wanted- paid & owned in full-plus some memories to last a life time.

Throw on top of all this the concept of compound interest return, and you start to see wherein the spending pickle lies. For example, Did you know that even once adjusted for inflation, the stock market has averaged well over 5% per year since the 1870's (Actually its closer to 7%). This means if you were to invest your winnings, you'd be earning at least 2.5 million in interest on average per year, which is the same amount a worker making $50,000 per year will take home from a combined 50 years of servitude. That’s almost a lifetime's earnings passively transferred to your bank account every year as you lavishly travel abroad and shop the latest Rolex.

"If you were to invest your $50,000,000 winnings, every year you'd recieve at least $2.5 million in interest on average per year, which is the same amount a worker making $50,000 per year will take home from a combined 50 years of servitude."

"The only ways to blow your cash faster than you'd passively earn it, would be through:"

How to Outpace Interest:
1) Extraordinary philanthropy

2) An Extraordinary trip to Vegas
3) An extraordinarily bad and unilateral investment (think Blockbuster)
4) Extraordinarily exuberant spending (think yachts, on penthouses, on private jets)

Societal Benefits Include:
1) With $1.5 billion per year in profit, It’s a great source of revenue for the province, generating roughly half the enormous amounts of LCBO or fossil fuel taxes.
2) OLG provides over 15,000 jobs throughout the province
3) It’s a good source of business to retailers


Your probability of Winning a LottoMax Jackpot is LESS THAN your Likelihood of being HIT BY LIGHTENING...

Just how bad are the odds? Well, the odds of getting hit by lightening in your entire lifetime are 1 in 3000. Your odds of winning the jackpot in an entire life of buying 1 ticket per draw on LottoMax are 1 in 5000. That's 1 in 33 million per ticket. Which means that if every person of age in Canada were to buy a ticket, the chances are that less than 1 person would win each draw…. To visualize just how many people that is, imagine flipping through a year book containing every face in the country. If you spent just 1 second noting each face without a single break for food or sleep, or anything else, you'd spend your entire year's existence failing to do so. And if considering the mildest realism involved in cognition, sustaining bodily functions, job status, and logistical considerations, your year spent in isolation attempting to comprehend 30,000,000 people could easily become numerous lifetimes.

A business analyst, statistician, or economists might frame it this way:
If you were to buy the cheapest LottoMax ticket for every draw in a year (without encore) you'd spend $520 and your chances of winning that year would be 0.0000033%, or less than half of a half of a half of a half of a half of a percent. Still pretty abstract sounding, isn't it? Okay, if you were to spend the average Canadian adult lifespan (82 years) from purchasing age of 18 to death at 82, buying one ticket for each draw, you'd have spent $33,280 for a chance
0.0002% in your entire lifetime.

In other words, you'd approach a solid chance of wining at least once if you'd bought 2 tickets per week for 5,000 lifetimes. Not bad I suppose. But did you know that in your millennia pursuing a jackpot with payouts ranging between $5-70 million, you'd actually spend $166,400,000 on tickets alone? That means your spending anywhere from 2-33x the amount you could possibly hope of winning. Even given the weakest return on that same money invested in stocks or real estate, would make you the richest person ever to live, with your wealth exceeding trillions of dollars many lifetimes before any hope of winning that elusive LottoMax "Jackpot"... Assuming you hadn't bought in early 2020 (Kidding!)

"You'd finally approach a solid chance of wining had you bought 2 tickets per week for 5,000 lifetimes...$166,400,000 later, you'd have spent anywhere from 2-33x the amount you could possibly hope of winning. "

"That's not 'the UGLY?"- 'Afraid not":

While lottery can be healthy fun in many circumstances, these 3 factors highlight unsavory considerations easily forgotten by players:

1) Lottery is a Germ & Virus Hotbed:
Lottery requires swapping germs with a bare minimum 3 people. 1) The buyer, 2) person/ vendor purchased from, 3) the vendor exchanged/ cashed-in with. MINIMUM. Chances are more likely however, that players will come in contact with the checker machine, touched by countless other players, and have vendors touch screens with bare hands (as not all gloves work on the lottery terminals touch screens) potentially exposing you to countless more people/ germs. Not good in virus prevention times. Further, the markup on lottery is 8% for vendors which is often the lowest of all products in any given store. While it brings a LOT of traffic through the doors, its simply not feasible for business owners to disinfect all equipment involved in every lotto transaction for what typically amounts to less than 80 cents per transaction. That margin would hardly cover the labour costs involved, let alone profit or risk.

2) It can be Environmentally-Unsound:
Its amazing how many players come in Just to check their lottery, as though it’s the last chance they’ll ever get. In addition to the paper and harmful inks produced in every sale, and scan, your gas impact quickly adds up. Why not wait to check until your next essential visit?

3) It can be Highly Addictive:
Did you know in recent years, suicides have outpaced conflict related global deaths for the first time in history? Meanwhile, lottery sales have steadily grown, a growth trend following that of many addictive products. Its been proven, lottery is gambling and gambling is an addiction for many. Its why casinos and race tracks have staff watching the washrooms, for potential overdoses and suicides. Unlike other addictions however, it doesn’t come with as many restrictions or warning labels. If you or anybody you know experiences these addiction symptoms, please guide them to help: OLG has some good resources on their website.

The Verdict?

Admittedly, our General Store business sits in karmic deficit by default. There's hardly a product sold without consequence. But at the end of the day that's okay, because we're all humans with human vices far from saint-worthy. What truly matters in an imperfect world- we believe- is progress. Progress has and always will be the undying theme of human history. And while its not always easy, it compounds, and has grown of particular importance through todays age of misinformation. As such, we feel it necessary to judge and present findings through thoughtful, and digestible analysis. Its not the quick read you'll find on twitter, facebook or instagram. But with declining book sales and readers in throughout the developed world, we feel its a happy medium. Something fact-based of substance, reliably featuring multiple angles. While leaving more for independent exploration in a busy day & age.  

Finally, we have MANY regular lottery customers that this blog will likely come as a surprise to, and its the furthest from my intentions to offend. It is my hope, that these amazing people alongside readers elsewhere can appreciate that we stand much to lose by sharing this message. Please understand, we are happy to serve OLG and believe it has its place, but that given the circumstances, risks are just too high for all parties involved. This blog felt a good opportunity to share that fact alongside other unfortunate truths i'd been meaning to write about.

At the end of the day, we all make bets for entertainment, some better than others. What's important is that we recognize them as sheer entertainment, rather than as means to retire early, or live better, and that we recognize the signs of our habits evolving to dangerous status. At this stage in the pandemic however, we feel that by not painting a fuller picture, would to be of disservice to society. As in this very rare point in history we believe our collective subconscious and otherwise unobserved actions can have pivotal, near-immediate impacts like never before. My hope is that once this global storm blows over, business in general takes a long hard look in the mirror at ethical practices and values. With a little honest reflection, sacrifice, and above all, persistence, we can make the sweeping changes that only crisis can spur; to make our world a better, more unified and just home to all.

On that note, a parting anecdote: Before this blog I was completely unaware of the probability of being hit by lightening, yet I still knew that probability goes up in a thunderstorm, while survival rate goes down if struck in a pool. I'm shamed to say I once stood in a resort pool during a tropical rainstorm, with the only items on my person a beer in one hand and an umbrella in the other. Which has got to be as stupid as it gets. And a far worse bet than any lottery ticket. Yet here I stand, alive and well today.

Would I do it again? Absolutely not.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Be Happy & Well,