The first and most obvious reason not to play lotto: you’re going to lose. The odds of winning stand at 292,201,338 to 1.
Of course, the allure is in the tag line: you can’t win if you don’t play. It’s a tantalizing choice – $2 is all you need to have a chance, albeit a ridiculously small one, at Saudi prince like riches. Tonight’s jackpot stands at $430 million, even after taxes that’s a take of well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
I myself have played many times, and when I see jackpots as large as this one I thinking about joining the other dreamers. So what’s the harm in playing if it’s only costing a couple bucks?
Desiring God’s John Piper has a few thoughts:
1. It is spiritually suicidal.
“Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. . . . Some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9–10).
Reason number 2 from Piper is a quite convicting, having to do with God’s promise that we will be held accountable for how we handled the money and resources He provides us with.
“Men don’t gamble with their Master’s money. All you have belongs to God. Faithful trustees may not gamble with a trust fund.”
Reason three is the (almost) impossible odds you’re facing. Number four is closely related to three, and it has to do with losers. Yes, there will be a few hundred million losing tickets tonight. That’s a lot of losers.
Number five: poor people. “It preys on the poor,” Piper explains, adding that it encourages “yet another corrosive addiction that preys upon the greed and hopeless dreams of those trapped in poverty.”
Six: we’re creating “fools” as 21% of people actually believe playing the lottery was a “practical” way to gain financial stability. According to Piper: