Originally Posted by oneupper
If you are poor, playing the lottery makes sense. That $1 you spend will not change your life. The payoff will.
If you are a multi-millionaire, it's a waste. A jackpot will not change your life.
On "average" you lose about 70% of each dollar you put into the lotto, so it seems that playing is not a rational decision. But it can be...based upon the above (which some really smart people modeled mathematically and called "utility theory").
My wife play a buck or two when we go grocery shopping. I don't discourage her.
Myself, I play the financial markets. Better odds, but not necesarily more rational.
While I agree it's probably not terribly harmful to buy lotto tickets (within reason), there is something about the principle of squandering money that you KNOW you'll never see again. That's enough for me to stay away.