A Dollar and a Dream? Or a Sucker's Bet

With the Mega Millions lottery jackpot at a record-breaking $540 million, hordes of Pennsylvanians are "feeling lucky." But should they be?

With Friday night's Mega Millions jackpot now at a record $540 million, Pennsylvania Lottery desks and kiosks across the region are doing brisk business. Office lottery pools are swelling with member contributions. Did you buy a ticket? Are you excited? Hopeful?

Well, good for you. Rich Smith of The Motley Fool thinks you're a sucker.

"The truth is that getting rich from winning the lottery isn't just unlikely. It's (statistically) impossible," Smith writes.

And he's not the only one.

In fact, according to the folks at Bloomberg, Pennsylvania ranks ninth in the U.S. on the lottery "sucker index," which measures how much each state's residents spend on lottery tickets and compares that amount to how much they win.

You'll be pleased to learn that both New Jersey and New York are apparently even bigger suckers than we are (Georgia is number one). State-run lotteries have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling in the country, according to Bloomberg.

In other words, you have better odds of scoring some cash tonight by visiting  the than you do by "investing" in those Mega Millions tickets.

So what do you think, Bethlehem? Are you shooting for that $540 million jackpot? Vote in our poll. And if you are playing, tell us (in the comments) what you plan to do with the money when you win.

Sunday March 30, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Well, I believe you're only a sucker if you spend a lot on tickets. If you only buy a couple of tickets for a few dollars, then why not? Someone has to win...right?


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