Sunday, July 16, 2006

The National Lottery - "A tax on stupidity"

In the Guardian yesterday, Marina Hyde described the National Lottery as a "tax on stupidity". Fortunately, I have never taken part in the lottery, so I could laugh at this.

Mind you, the reason I have never taken part is not a question of stupidity or otherwise. If you have a faith, I don't see the reason to take part in a lottery. I am sure that sounds sanctimonious, but there it is.


  1. It doesn't sound sanctimonious - but I don't quite follow the reasoning - please expand on this!

  2. A tax on irrational hope might be a kinder, or maybe more sanctimonious, way of putting it.

    But I am puzzled - if you didn't have faith, why would that give you any more reason to play the lottery?

    Hmmm, perhaps faith is a kind of irrational hope, and so the lottery is a tax on faith? Albeit faith of a different kind. So do you have a tax-free kind of faith? Or have I stretched this analogy way beyond breaking point?

  3. Putting the occasional quid on the lottery isn't stupid - you may rationally know that you have almost no chance of winning, but enjoy taking the punt and recognise a portion of the money is going to good causes.

    Putting £20 a week on the thing however probably is borderline stupidity, certainly foolishness.

  4. Thank you for those fascinating comments. Little did I think such a small posting would set off such erudite and voluminous comments.

    Joe - I think you are probably right!

    "If you didn't have faith, why would that give you any more reason to play the lottery?"....I have no idea. I have a faith so I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a faith.

    I have never played the lottery because I feel I have already won the lottery. I have more than enough of everything - materially and, hopefully increasingly each day, spiritually, and I don't need any more.

    To hope (albeit with odds worse than betting on Lord Lucan and Elvis Presley inflagrante landing in a UFO on top of the Eiffel Tower) that a wadge of money would make me any happier is to deny my extreme good fortune now.

    I am reminded of Sir Jimmy Saville's comment:

    "Money won't make you happy but you can be miserable in great comfort."

  5. Paul, your contentment is enviable.

    But I don't play the lottery not because I think I have "enough" money, but because I'd rather not have less, and I recognise that gambling is a way of losing money - that people lose far more than they win overall.

    I am a little concerned that your reasoning reinforces the perception that gambling is a way to make money.