Lottery Poverty – The Affordable Gamble You Can’t Afford

I played the lottery on its inaugural day of 19th November 1994 – a penniless rapper, I got five numbers, punched the air then got my notepad back out when I realised that five plus the bonus ball amounted to the life altering sum of £60 – the price of a decent Sony Walkman. I now play the lottery, on average, once every 6 months meaning every year I lose £4, but essentially win £100 by not buying a ticket on the other weeks.


The fight for social and economic justice in the UK received a critical blow on 14th November 1994 – when the elite opened their doors to anyone willing to pay just £1 for a spin of the National lottery‘s wheel of fortune. Though the poorer you are, the more frequently you’re likely to play – poverty-stricken people will enter into the kingdom of the Millionaires. Right?  

The fact that, for each player, the wheel had approximately 45 million Jackpot slices and only one with their name on it was little deterrent as people stoked their high flying minds with dreams of a life of luxury and a ‘so long suckers’ sticker on the Testarossa.

Given we’re four times more likely to be killed by lightning or die in a plane crash, possibilities most rational minds dismiss; every week millions suspend their struggle for things known to have a tangible positive impact on their condition for the duration of euphoric aesthesia experienced in the lead-up to the big draw. This – followed by the deflation of the hot air lottery dream machine which returns players to earth with a bump, leaving them staggering towards the next fix for the next big draw.

The rich have, on purpose or by opportunism, conned the masses into opposing the positive socioeconomic change. If you might be as rich as a lord tomorrow, then why would you support tax increases that will hit your velvet purse? If next week, fortune strikes, and you find yourself rolling through the capital in that gas-guzzling Lamborghini you’re drooling over – why would you fight for green taxes and initiatives? Why would you strike for a better wage and conditions when that Jackpot windfall on Wednesday will transport you out of low pay and endless hours to a white sandy Maldives beach?  Who knows, you might even set up a million-pound company – become a boss and the last thing you’ll want are revolting workers milking your profits. The struggles for mugs, you’re going to be rich.

The lottery – a drug for the masses, self-medication to temporarily alleviate the effects of injustice that grows in an absence of challenge. Euromillions, scratch cards, NHS, Thunderball  – what started as a weekly one-hit-wonder rapidly morphed into a multifarious delusional dreamscape ticket machine, hoovering coins from the personal good causes of buyers, eg. food, utility bills and other necessities, under the guise of giving those coins to good causes – after profit-taking and handing most of it to one person to blow like Brewster.

The lottery is as much a scam as any pyramid scheme, in that it distorts the lateral thinking mind, causing it to fixate on the improbable while ignoring erosions of the actual. While most pyramid schemes are only in town for the short period between rollout and rumbled, meaning sucker cash needs to be trousered quick and big. The lottery isn’t renting, it’s got a mortgage and we’re paying it at a cumulative cost that would dwarf any Ponzi investments.

Whereas the architects of Ponzi schemes have the police and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on their backs – the national lottery has only the Gambling Commission who provide nothing to protect the vulnerable against excessive playing  – the only regulation aimed at checking the veracity of the system in order to create sales-boosting trust. The lottery is a pickpocket sold as the people’s saviour – claiming to make you stinking rich while feeding poor hungry nurses. It is also a distraction from the things that matter most, which provide the progress needed to change societal conditions. A lottery hit may temporarily lift the mood, but for most, the big draw is a false and fleeting high for those who toke on it.

If you want to a regular guaranteed loss, then fill your head with millionaire dreams and float it into the silver-lined lottery clouds, while the life to which you will always return decays like a banana on a radiator.However, if you want to make a change that will deliver tangible life-enhancing benefits for you and others you care about, then plant your feet on the ground and standup and fight for a change instead of spending it on a ticket to nowhere.

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