Did you know that you are statistically four times more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than to win the lottery? Surprising? Maybe not, when you consider that the likelihood of winning is about 1 in 300 million. Those are some small odds. And, if you do win somehow, I wish you good luck. Approximately one third of winners will go bankrupt eventually. But even with that against them, people have played lotteries for quite a while: they date back to the 1400's!
Your likelihood of winning is extremely small. In fact, the probability is so low that you could flip a coin 28 times and have it land on heads every single time and still be far below the likelihood of winning the lottery. You are also much more likely to get struck by lightning, to be killed by a meteor, to be killed by a vending machine (seriously?), to be attacked by a shark, and to go to the ER for a pogo stick-related injury. Yikes! As well, you are more likely to die in a car crash on the way to buy your lottery ticket than to actually win the lottery. But somehow one lucky person wins the jackpot. And, in the hope of being that lucky person, millions play. The average American spends about $200 on the lottery per year. That means that we spend more on the lottery than on movies, video games, and concerts combined. Amazing!
It may not actually be all you would ever want to win the lottery. For one, in most states, if you win, you cannot remain anonymous. This means that you probably will be bombarded with requests for money, and also will be followed by the media. As well, the government will take 24% of the money you win. And, you will have to hire people to help manage that fortune that you won, at least, that is, if you want to keep it. That's got to be a lot of important decisions, and stress levels might skyrocket. And, as noted earlier, 1 in 3 winners go bankrupt, probably because most people win and have no idea what to do and blow through the money. But, while this may seem horrible, if you are smart about managing your money and can put up with the media hordes, you will have a lot of extra money to use and will probably be able to do all the things that, well, a lottery winner would do, like, say, fancy cars, nice trips.
The first European lottery to have monetary prizes was a lottery in Italy in the year 1476. Another early usage of the lottery was one started by Queen Elizabeth I in 1566. In 1699, a ban on lotteries was made in England, but it was lifted in 1709. Again, in 1826, the British banned lotteries, but eventually, the National Lottery was created in 1994. In the U.S., lotteries were used to raise money for various projects and also built a number of colleges. A few small lottery regulations were instituted starting in 1827 and eventually came to a ban on interstate transportation of tickets in 1890.
So, even though the odds are 1 in 300 million, even though one third of winners go bankrupt eventually, the lottery still has a long history. As well, lotteries have a good side in that they can help fund different projects. So should you play one? That is for you to decide. And maybe they should put warning signs on coconut trees.