Change system, more lottery winners needed

Change system, more lottery winners needed

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We should have more lottery winners and we can do that by changing the system we use to award prizes. So many people win correct numbers but get so little in return all so that government can build up the lottery jackpot to astronomical heights to draw in more suckers

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Just when you thought Americans could see past the Lottery scam, greed, laziness and the against the odds-prayers to the almighty buck have found a new hero.

No one won Saturday’s record $930 million Power Ball Lottery where players pay $2 for six numbers including a Power Ball Number.

The winning number combination was 16, 19, 32, 34, 57, and the Powerball 13, which for most people is avoided because it’s considered an “unlucky” number.

So this week, the jackpot grew to a record surpassing $1 billion.

That sounds amazing. But what is really amazing is that we – the sheep – allow this to happen to us.

The odds or winning are 1 in 300 million. It will be even higher Wednesday. But the odds only tell half the story. The likelihood of winning is more than 1 billion to one.

A small handful of players picked the five winning numbers (sans the Power Ball) to win $1 million. But the game is structured so that the public hopes not for a reasonable win, but the impossible extreme.

Here’s what I mean. The lottery should be changed to pay bigger prizes for matching fewer numbers. So what if that eats up the rolled over pot.

Why not reward the masses, and payout $1 million for matching only four numbers, instead of all five?

Twenty-eight people picked the correct 5 numbers and won $1 million each (3 won double because of the “Power Play” option).

Powerball win from Jan. 9, 2016

Powerball win from Jan. 9, 2016

A total of 451 people picked 4 numbers and received Powerball winnings of $50,000 each, (including 55 who won more with “Power Play.”)

But That’s where the payout drops.

More than 30,000 people picked 3 numbers and the 6th Power Ball, and they ONLY won $100. More than 750,000 people picked 3 numbers and they only won $7.

That’s just wrong. The people who picked 3 or 4 numbers should win more. There’s more than enough money in each game to do that.

Sure, this would mean that the jackpot wouldn’t grow as fast or as much.

But the Lottery doesn’t want you to win, that’s why the bulk of the cash is at the higher, tougher odds. Ever since the Numbers Racket was started, played in the back alleys of Harlem, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland, the purpose was to collect more and more money, and payout less and less.

I am tired of pumping money into the Lottery system and losing. I don’t need to win a Billion Dollars. But I would play more if I thought the chances of winning $1 million were easier. Even thousands would be great.

The big jackpot only lures in more suckers, and creates far more losers.

The Lottery is a legalized numbers racket, which the government stile from the street merchants.

The lottery today promises hope and huge spending, but very little reward for players.

Give the people more chances to win bigger. We don’t need $1 billion to be happy. And like the thousands of people who win the system now, most get only a few dollars, usually so much less than they spend on tickets.

That’s just wrong.

The $1 billion prize makes more headlines. But it also makes people with no hope waste money that should be spent on food, bills or necessities, not promises of hope that really are guarantees of losses.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. Reach him at

This post has already been read 131 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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