Lottery Money is Money Spent, not Money Lost

A little perspective on the expense of lottery spending and what you are buying
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Lottery Money is Money Spent, not Money Lost
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  • Author:
    William Monroe
  • Published:
    08/11/2019

Many people tend to lose perspective of how they view the expenditure of their cash. If they buy a tangible object like a book, can of soup, car, house, bag of chips, or something else real, they fully understand that they are spending their money in exchange for that product. Even in today’s digital world, the purchase of eBooks and digital music, and digital movies and TV shows, they understand that they are buying a product made up of simply 1’s and 0’s that actually create the digital product we are purchasing. The same goes for any type of service from a haircut to lawn maintenance. In this case they are purchasing something that is not a product, but to have it done, the money must be paid.

Looking at Gambling Spending

However, when it comes to gambling, the perspective changes 180 degrees. Most of us will fully agree that when we purchase a lottery ticket and check the results, if we haven’t won anything, we say that we lost on the lottery. The only way you can lose something is if you had it in the first place. So what was actually lost if you don’t win on the lottery? The money for the ticket was not lost. It did not fall out of your wallet or purse, and it didn’t vanish into thin air. It was used to purchase a ticket, which actually is a purchase of a chance to win money. Yes, a ticket purchase is a purchase of a chance, just like buying a cup of coffee, a digital music album, or having someone create a website for you. You are directly paying for something. Whether you win or not win is totally irrelevant. When you buy a ticket, you are buying a chance. You are spending that money to purchase that chance. You have spent it. It is gone and is not coming back just like other stuff you bought. You have not lost it if you don’t win.

You need to go into the draw with the knowledge and understanding that your purchase is a physical purchase of a future chance at winning some money, and is a very slim chance at that. However, if you do win a prize, then this is something that is a bonus to your purchase of the chance. To lose something, you would have had ot have it in your possession in the first place. So you can’t lose at the lottery, you can only win, or not win.

Wins and Losses

Now, unfortunately, the gaming industry likes to label wins and non-wins as wins and losses. “Win” and “loss” are gambling industry terms that mean something slightly different in regards to gaming revenue. But since the use of these terms in the industry is so extensive, they make their way into regulator and operator literature and other media presented to the public. And the real travesty of this is that these terms are used by responsible gaming agencies in their media to the public. So what happens here is the message of responsible gambling that should be using words such as spend, spent, spending, and non-win, get replaced by lose, losing, lost, and loser, which actually presents the opposite message than that of which they are trying to promote.

So as a player, it’s important to know that you are actually spending your money when you play the lottery, as you are purchasing tickets. You are not giving it or throwing it away. You are spending in the hopes of turning that dollar or two into many more.

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