Thinking - Lotto Economics

I just wrote an email to some people about a person I knew ( I think that covers me) that never quite paid their way.

They would skimp a little when everyone was kicking in at the end of a meal in a restaurant or whatever. I've been quite poor (financially) at times in my life, and this was always something I managed to avoid.

Sometimes by just ordering a bowl of air.

Other times by skipping the air and just having the water.

Either way, I was less than a fan of the person who didn't pay their way.

But now I'm not so sure if they were perhaps contributing to the economy in a way I previously missed completely.

Damn me!

Perhaps the value of a (*dollar*) is better determined by someone who doesn't pay their way.

Or perhaps it already is.

I had this grand scheme where I recommend my friend should buy 5 x $1 instant lotto (scratch some kind of coating off to reveal you have lost yet again) tickets each week to get over their problem of being a decent payer. I figured it would be easy to be generous to the potential tune of $25,000 for only $5 week left as tips.

I figured they were dodging their due because they thought, not that they didn't have enough, but rather someone might be getting more. That was my big breakthrough idea. Force Them to give a potential something from them.

I figured it might be worth kicking that in the guts with only $5 spent per week.

Giving someone a ticket that only cost a dollar, but that might be worth $25,000 is apparently different to giving someone a dollar. It turns out it was nearly unbearable to think they might win.


Win more than the dollar they tipped.


Win more than the dollar they could have had themselves!



what if you gave someone 3 x $1 instant lotto tickets for a $3 cup of coffee?

That would be fair.

Except we see from my friend that lotto tickets are seen as worth more than the cost of the ticket.


But also from actual statistics, we see that lotto tickets are worth less than their face value.


Obvious really.

Otherwise nobody would buy them.

Nope, I dont understand either...


We sometimes see the potential as being more than the real worth.

People see lotto and slots as worth slightly more than the real worth... of say a ticket...

Or a coin.

The promise of a return is the thing we value in a lotto ticket, or a slot machine, or a coin.

And we all know the return cant be quite as much as the cost of the ticket.

Somebody is making something.

But what if we all started using lotto tickets to buy coffee?

What if we all said I want to buy a $3 coffee with three $1 lotto tickets?

We all know the tickets are worth less than $3, but as in my friend's case, he cant deal with letting go of $3 worth of tickets for $3 worth of stuff.

So $3 worth of lotto tickets are actually worth $3.05, so you only need to pay 2.95 lotto tickets for a $3 cup of coffee. (ish)

Pay for something worth $3 with $3, and get some change.

Everyone nearly wins!

Free money!




120 Things in 20 years thinks it just understood how the economy doesn't work..


  1. If the Lotto people and the Non-Lotto people were separated for several generations and left to form separate economies meanwhile not allowed to interbreed, then forced to compete in one of those weapon wars, I wonder who would win??!!

  2. The weapons manufacturers, and lotto institutions would continue to win is my guess :)


Popular Posts