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
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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