Why Playing The Lottery Is Stupid

Lottery is Stupid

More than half of Canadians play the lottery regularly. Are you one of these people?

If so, please stop. Playing the lottery is stupid. Here’s why:

The odds of winning the lottery are about 1 in 85 million.

According to a Harris/Decima poll for Scotiabank, 5% of Canadians assume that they will be rich by winning the lottery. When Canadians between the ages of 45-64 spoke with Environics Research for TD Waterhouse, 32% said they expected to win the lottery.

Not just a $5, $10 or $100 prize – no, they expected that they would win the jackpot. The whole she-bang.

That is just plain crazy. Like I mentioned above, the odds of winning are right around 1 in 85 million. You have a better chance of getting stuck by lightening – twice – than winning the lottery.

Buying lottery tickets is the equivalent of flushing money down the toilet.

You may argue that “it’s only $1 for the hope of winning big”, but the reality is that you are not likely to win big. The lottery is the worst bet you can possibly make because the chances of winning are slim to none.

Gambling should not be seen as a form of entertainment. By throwing money away (which is essentially what you are doing when playing the lottery), you are greatly risking your financial future.

What to do with your money instead…

If you come into extra money, don’t rush out to buy a lottery ticket. Instead, do one (or more) of these things:

  • Contribute to an RRSP. Don’t assume that the lottery is going to pay for your retirement. You are responsible for your future, so you are the one that needs to pay for it.

    Save as much money as possible in an RRSP so that when you retire, you will have a bunch of cash to do with what you please. And remember, the earlier you start saving, the better off you will be down the road.

  • Pay off all debts. Of course, before you can truly be free to enjoy your life completely, you need to rid yourself of all debt that may be looming over you.

    Credit cards, car loans, lines of credit, your mortgage – pay it off. Every last penny. There is no greater feeling than knowing you don’t owe anyone anything. You must experience this type of freedom. Get your debts paid off as soon as you possibly can.

  • Contribute to a TFSA. Every year, you are entitled to save $5,000 in a tax-free savings account. I encourage you to do this each and every year to save yourself money in taxes.

    This amount applies to every person, so that means that everyone in your home is able to set aside this amount. If you are married, or in a committed relationship, that is $10,000 (combined) that you can save, tax-free, every year, toward your goals.

  • Invest. Consider investing your money in CDs, GICs or even high-interest savings accounts (like ING Direct).
    You are much more likely to make money by investing, than buying lottery tickets and crossing your fingers that you win millions or billions of dollars. Just remember to invest conservatively.

Lottery associations bring in around $8 billion dollars annually. Stop contributing to this nonsense and instead, save your money yourself. You’ll be much better off, I promise.

Don’t expect to win big with a lottery ticket, because chances are, you won’t. Ever.

Do you buy lottery tickets? Why or why not?

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  1. redleaf55 says:

    I don’t but lottery tickets regularly but they are part of my entertainment budget. And I buy the heart and stroke lottery out of my allowance. These parts of the budget are separate and apart from the savings, and debt parts. If I buy a lottery ticket I might not go to a movie but my husband and I get to play “what would we do with 10 million dollars” for a few days which is often more fun.

  2. Linda says:

    I do regularly play the lotteries. I know it is a long shot, but if I don’t play, it is an impossible shot! I don’t go overboard and buy extra when the jackpots are large, I stick to my regular amount. I also figure, I don’t go to the movies, I don’t eat out, and a few other things, so if I want to have a little vice, this one at least gives me a chance!

  3. Tracey Hoey says:

    Smoking is stupid. Drinking to excess is stupid. Buying snake oil is stupid. Buying lottery tickets with the expectation of winning is stupid.

    Buying a lottery ticket as a form of entertainment is the same as playing bingo, going to the racetrack or dropping some coins in a slot machine at a casino. It’s not much different from any form of entertainment (reading, seeing a movie, going to a sporting event, playing a video game). Everyone has a different idea of what entertainment is.

    Personally, I only buy lottery tickets as part of a pool (probably $10-20 worth/year). It’s a bonding thing and we have fun seeing if we win a free ticket. We all understand the odds are overwhelmingly against us winning, but it’s the playing that’s fun (therefore, it’s entertainment). That isn’t stupid (well, no more stupid than seeing a baseball or hockey game is).

  4. Jamie says:

    I completely agree… it’s stupid.

    I do enjoy the comments “I know a guy who won. And I know a friend of a friend who won.” Who cares? Of course there are winners, the point is the ODDS.

    Speaking of odds; to those who say you can’t win without playing, I disagree. Your odds of finding a winning ticket on the ground are about as good as if you play regularly. Either way, not too likely.

  5. Megan says:

    In your opinion its stupid… but to many its a fun way to take chances at having something greater. There are many more stupid things in this world than lottery. I come to your site to learn about deals and couponing, not to be told things I enjoy are dumb. Please keep your opinion to yourself and don’t put down those of us who don’t mind spending the extra money to buy lotto tickets!!!!!

  6. Phil says:

    My saying is: If I dont buy a ticket, I can’t win. If I do buy a ticket, I won’t win.

  7. Dawn says:

    I think you may have possibly messed up on the numbers being as in 2009 there were only 35,000,000 in Canada assuming 1/3 of them are children that are not of age to play leaving 23,333,333 of age player, with (well use the 2 main lotteries in Canada, which have a total of 3 draws a week), and assuming that every single one of those 23,333,333 people played you actually end up with a 1/7,777,777.8 chance of winning each draw! As we know the chance are greater being as not everyone plays.

    While I do not play every draw every week, on occasion I think it’s a nice little reality break to think of ‘What could happens’??

  8. chris says:

    I find your choice of words offensive. You do realize you are therefore implying that a significant portion of your readers are stupid?

    Perhaps it may have been nicer to say that it’s unwise to play the lottery, (or smoke, or drink or eat to excess).

  9. Jane says:

    This post seemed a bit angry. I love your tips and coupons deals but this this post seemed really judgemental.

  10. Anna says:

    OMG….People are soooo easily offended and God forbid that someone express an opinion contrary to theirs especially if it exposes that they do something stupid…Yes “stupid”…

    The list of stupid things people do even though they usually know better(or should) is endless and there is nothing wrong at pointing it out in case someone needed a wake-up call… Some may be fun/pleasurable but they still remain stupid…

    With the information and facts available to all of us the following are true but yet people continue to do too many of them…

    Playing the lottery IS stupid….
    Eating at McDonald IS stupid/unhealthy…
    Eating meat IS stupid/unnecessary…
    Eating and drinking dairy for human beings IS stupid/unnecessary…
    Smoking cigarettes IS stupid…
    Driving drunk IS illegal and stupid…
    Buying puppies/kittens from pet stores IS stupid

    Thanks for sharing Cassie (We love you) and obviously continue to share your thoughts and even providing a wake-up call or two for those of us that need it since it IS your website… 🙂

  11. tina says:


    “Eating and drinking dairy for human beings IS stupid/unnecessary”.

    your whole response is STUPID. Lady you are out there—-out of norm

  12. Former Torontonian says:

    I have never bought a lottery ticket for personal reasons but I certainly don’t think I’m any better than people who do. I think I’ve wasted money many times, maybe many times a day. I don’t see how spending a dollar on the lottery is any different than spending a dollar on a useless trinket at the dollar store, paying tax on an FPC that I wasn’t supposed to, or buying that $0.99 chocolate bar.

    The lottery ticket may even be the smarter buy, because buying a useless $1 item will also most times require paying tax. Realistically, some people do win the amount of their ticket back, which is more than I can say for things I buy for a dollar.

    Money is something for people to enjoy. It’s supposed to enrich your life and not just add to my supply of dental floss. When I die, it’s not really going to matter if I had a lottery ticket or an extra box of floss anyways. Even if I put a huge chunk of change in an RRSP, it only has meaning if I live to be older than 65.

    I guess I’ll have to ask the insurance company for those statistics. 🙂

  13. Cheryl says:

    I would just like to say that what I do with my money is my business..I don’t feel the need to defend any of my purchases..lottery or otherwise. I am sure many people would consider what other people buy to be a waste of money but who are we to judge. Perhaps we could look at our own spending habits before we tell people how “Stupid” theirs are…tell me how your tattoos have helped you save money Cassie..or was that for your enjoyment..to give you pleasure. Something others might consider a foolish waste of money might be worth it to the next person. FYI ..regular lotteries do add funds to the public health system in the province in which you play..not to mention grant money that is given out to various organizations in the community too…also a good cause in my book 🙂

  14. Kim says:

    I play the lottery weekly hoping to win (hoping ) to win but I don’t ever expect to win and you don’t play you don’t win and someone usually wins because they bought a ticket and I thought a portion of lottery goes to charities and other needs. I do know someone who won a lottery because she bought a ticket.


  15. Nicki says:

    I kind of agree, if you don’t have the money to spare to begin with then it is a bad idea. However my boyfriends uncle has won $100,000 and a girl I used to work with won $3.5 million. So there is hope for winning

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