Here is why it is not completely crazy to buy a lotto ticket

Smart Money: why do lotto players ignore the odds? Economics has a surprising answer

 Les Reilly, the owner of Reilly’s Daybreak Store in the Naul, north county Dublin celebrates pictured with staff and customers after selling the winning €175 million EuroMillions ticket as David Woods (left) area rep with the National Lottery sprays the champagne. Photograph: Mac Innes Photography

Les Reilly, the owner of Reilly’s Daybreak Store in the Naul, north county Dublin celebrates pictured with staff and customers after selling the winning €175 million EuroMillions ticket as David Woods (left) area rep with the National Lottery sprays the champagne. Photograph: Mac Innes Photography

Why people buy lottery tickets has long been argued over by economists. More recent economic theories give fascinating insights into why people play, attracted by the very remote possibility of winning a life-changing sum. When you see a family in north Co Dublin win €175 million, the possibility of winning, however unlikely, is underlined. And this, economists believe, helps people to give undue weight in their decision making to remote odds of winning big.

Whatever the reasons, the lottery is big business. As well as prizes, it supports jobs in retailers and in causes supported by lottery spending. In some ways, the lottery is a kind of incentivised tax collection scheme, collecting funds to spend on worthy projects which might otherwise be supported directly from the public purse. It has even been called a tax on people who are bad at maths.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.