When we took a recent trip to Montreal, I was amazed at the number of casinos as we drove through Michigan.
I am originally from Michigan, but I have not lived there for nearly 15 years. When I did live there, the closest casino to our house was 3 hours away. Now there are more than a handful within that same 3 hour radius.
Clearly business must be good for the casinos, otherwise they wouldn’t continue to build more.
Many people see going to the casino or playing the lottery as an innocent pastime, and I would agree if you have no debt, a healthy emergency fund, a good retirement savings and the discipline to control your gambling – then maybe it has a place in your life as entertainment.
The problem is that most people don’t fit the above description.
Recently, I heard on the news that a woman who described herself as unemployed for nearly two years and depressed and broke, went out and bought a lottery ticket. She won the pick 4, which would have amounted to a few thousand dollars in winnings. The problem was that the Lotto commission had put up one wrong number on the website when reporting the winning pick 4 number. They quickly realized their error and made the correction within 30 minutes on their website. Now the woman is suing to get the money she feels is hers.
Regardless of what you feel about her case, why was a woman who is unemployed and desperate, spending her valuable money gambling?
I spoke with a casino worker one time who said that she had seen some very sad events at the casino. One gambling addict actually could not walk away from the machine to relieve herself and instead wet her pants as she gambled.
While most people see gambling as a fun form of recreation, it is often anything but that.
Recently Gail Vaz-Oxlade on an episode of Til Debt Do Us Part required a young couple, who wasted their money on meaningless events and things, stand in the street and literally hand their money over to strangers. Of course, watching strangers walk away with their money was a painful experience for them.
Yet, if you are gambling, aren’t you doing the same thing?
Yes, there is a chance that you will hit it big, but the chance is less than your chance of dying in a plane crash, and no one thinks they will ever be one of the few who experiences a plane crash. Why do you instead believe you will someday be one of the lucky ones who will win millions?
Many workplaces have gambling pools where employees pitch in $5 or $10 a week to buy lottery tickets or play the lotto with the idea being they would split the winnings. Most of the time, this is money down the drain.
Instead, why not pool your money together and pick a winner once a month. If 20 employees pool $5 a week together, that is $400 a month. If you pick a monthly winner, someone who has contributed will win a guaranteed $400.
You have a 1/20 chance of winning.
I would take those odds any day.