The $600 Million Lottery Wager and Its Lesson

Even those who are aloof about casino gambling coming to Massachusetts had to look with more than just a bit of awe upon the hoopla and the result of last week’s Mega Million Lottery game which took in $39 million in Massachusetts.

The take in all the participating states came to more than $600 million. There were three winners of $200 million or more. There were five $250,000 winners in Massachusetts.

That $39 million investment – or waste of good money – however one wishes to look upon it by the residents of Massachusetts netted the state more than $16 million in added tax revenues to be divided by the cities and towns.

It also proved that in these difficult economic times, many, many residents here and throughout the nation feel compelled to make a wager even though in this case, the odds were approximately 176 million to one.

In fact, Lottery officials believe that more than 100 million people purchased losing tickets in the effort and the forlorn hope of becoming multi-millionaires in an electronic instant.

The near mass lottery hysteria, fed by the media coming into the weekend, caused lines to occur in hundreds of stores in many states.

The bottom line is that people in this state love to wager on their lives being changed which is why the Massachusetts Lottery is so successful.

Massachusetts’s residents love to bet and they proved this once again by wagering almost $40 million on a 176 million to one wager.

The near to absolute impossibility of the wager didn’t have much effect on the residents of this state.

When Saturday morning came, and the winners were announced, all in states very far away from Massachusetts, there was no great cry of disappointment, no angry crowds crying that they were ripped off, and there was a great deal of discussion among those who purchased a ticket about what might have been if they had won.

With the new Gaming Commission now in place, they should get busy with creating rules and regulations and whatever it is they are empowered to do to make certain a casino or two are open in this state as soon as possible.

The Lottery madness of last week proves how successful casino gambling will be when it finally arrives.

For our money, the casinos can’t arrive soon enough.

With a new stream of tax revenue for the state treasury likely to be in the high hundreds of millions, we shouldn’t dilly-dally around worrying about our consciences of the possible results of casino gambling.

The only result that matters – new tax revenues – will be generated by the same people who bought Lottery tickets last week and who can’t wait for the casinos to open.

Some people just don’t care about the impossibility of a wager. They are not forced to make the bet on the Lottery anymore than they’ll be forced to go to a casino.

What they care about is the momentary belief now and then that with a wager their lives can be changed.

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