Who doesn’t love the idea of buying a golden ticket to wealth and happiness? The success of our lottery system banks on that. Since the proceeds generated from the sales of tickets go toward all sorts of public systems like education and parks, it’s a winning situation all around.
Gambling to help your community was an idea that was started early in American history. The Thirteen Colonies were funded with the help of lottery tickets writes Becky Little at History.com. Our ancestors used lottery money toward libraries and colleges. George Washington and Benjamin Franklin even sponsored lotteries.
In 1974 scratch off cards changed the face of lottery forever, by enticing players with instant prizes. John Koza and Dan Bower got the idea for them from grocery store promotional cards that had prizes hidden under a wax coating. Pollard Banknote, a scratch off printing company out of Michigan prints over 14 Billion scratchers a year for customers all over the world.
According to Andy Kiersz at Business Insider, the citizens of Massachusetts spent an average of $767 per person on lottery tickets in 2016. He also found in the western part of the country people tend to spend a considerable amount less on their dreams of riches, where North Dakota residents only forked over an average of $45 per person on tickets.
Many individual states have a lottery that gives out instant prizes for scratchers, pull tabs, and keno tickets, or daily number drawing lotteries. The Multi State Lottery Association groups the state lotteries to make up the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots that can soar into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, Hawaii, Utah, and Nevada do not participate in lottery at all.
According to Jade Scipioni at Fox Business, The largest two pots in lottery history were the Powerball in 2016, and the Mega Millions in 2018, both leaving the winners with over $1.5 billion. That’s a lot of cheddar.
When playing drawing games, you can opt to fill out a slip with numbers of your own choosing or let the machine do it for you via “quick pick.” Seven time lottery winner Richard Lustig says not to use quick-picks, advising that it’s lazy, while mathematician Skip Garibaldi says 70% of lottery winners are the result of random quick picks.
Whether you’re playing your state’s local scratch offs or a multi state drawing, dreaming about your winnings is as American as lottery and apple pie. Good luck!