Lotto Fever! What Would You Do?

What would you do if you won the state Lottery? This is a question that often comes up in conversation, particularly when the jackpot is over a $100 million. The bigger the prize money the more people play. And there are lots of ways to win, Mega Millions, Super Lotto Plus, Hot Spot, Fantasy Five, Daily Derby and a host of “instant winner” card scratchers. I’m probably missing a few but you get the picture, the state has given us lots of ways to win and make our dreams come true or have they?

Even with California’s high cost of living it is estimated that over two million people play the lottery each week. The number one reason they play is to get rich quick.  Like they say, (whoever they are) “Somebodies got to win it, may as well be me.” Seems everyone wants to win the big money. Okay, maybe not everyone, there are thousands of people who never play, any of the states get rich quick lottery games and never plan to. Like they also say, “In order to win you gotta play.”

For years we’ve played Super Lotto Plus every Wednesday and Saturday like clockwork. Obviously we haven’t won the big one, but we have won small amounts from time to time (small being the optimum word) the largest amount is $100 one hundred dollars! But truth be told, we’ve definitely spent a whole lot more than we’ve won. Schools were supposed to be the big winner when the lottery began back in 1985.  Schools were going to get the biggest piece of the pie and be rolling in money! Well I worked in the school system and I’m here to tell you, that didn’t happen. Even with the additional funds created by the Lottery California continues its decline in Education and remains near the bottom of all states in per student spending. Last year we spent more money on Welfare than education. According to a January 2013 U.S. ranking we are 49th. How sad is that? Very, when you consider that in the 60’s and 70’s we were consistently in the top 10, and 16th as recently as the mid 90’s.

Even sadder is the fact that there are people out there who shouldn’t be playing at all! They really can’t afford to be chasing a dream with money they need for more important things like the needs of their families. The idea of wining a quick fortune and having your financial prayers answered is very alluring, but your chances of doing so are slim, something like one in a million, You have a better chance of being struck by lightning.

Many Californians play the lottery for fun using money from their entertainment budget to buy a lottery ticket. But, approximately three percent of those playing the lottery suffer from a gambling addiction. These people cannot safely manage any kind of wagering. These are the people who are spending their bill and food money because they ‘know ‘ they’re going to win, they can feel it! If you’re going to play, play responsibly. Don’t spend money you don’t have, and don’t ever borrow money to play the lottery. Create a manageable lottery budget and stick to it. And if you find you have a gambling problem seek help!

Okay, with that being said let’s get back to the big question, “What would you do if you won the Lottery?  You have all heard horror stories about big lotto winners and how their big cash windfall ultimately became their downfall. I can already hear some of you saying that what you would do and how it might effect you would depend on the size of the prize. A smaller payout would keep you more modest and less extravagant, while a big pay day might take you over the edge. It can happen, and has.

My Dream Car! 1963 Porsche

If I was to win a good amount of cash I don’t think we would change that much.  I don’t see us moving to a hilltop mansion or buying a Bentley, BMW Mercedes or Porsche. (Well, I might have to think on the Porsche, I’ve always wanted an old 63 yellow bathtub style 912. I had an opportunity to buy one in 1968 for $2800 but my dad wouldn’t cosign. He cosigned on a 61 VW for $800 instead.)

We’d most likely buy a couple of energy efficient vehicles to get around in and a nice, large, gas guzzling SUV for travelling. We probably wouldn’t move  to a new home, we’d remodel our current house, put in a pool and do some traveling. We’d head out and see U.S., then maybe tour Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. We’d definitely make some hefty donations to City of Hope and the American Cancer Society, take care of the kids (but not too much care) and provide trust funds for our grandkid’s college education!

Oh yeah and I’d definitely buy a few more guitars and spend more time playing them. I air condition my man cave and spend more time writing. Yes that’s what I’d do if I won the lotto or maybe I should be a bit more optimistic and say, when I win the lotto. Somebodies got to win. Right? Might as well be me… So, what would you do?


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