There are a lot of people who play the lottery. They spend a good chunk of their incomes every week on tickets and, in many cases, believe that they are going to win the big jackpot someday and change their lives for the better. I’ve talked to a few of them, and they’re really not that different from most people who have an obsession and want to do whatever it takes to get rich quick.
They do their research and choose their numbers based on birthdays, ages of children, and sequences that hundreds of other people have picked as well. They also try to avoid picking hot and cold numbers, purchasing Quick Picks, and selecting numbers that end in the same digit. They think that their chances of winning are higher if they play more often.
I’m not sure how much this matters, though, because there is no way to rig results and even if they could, it would be very difficult because the number of numbers and digits in each lottery is determined by random chance. That means that the same numbers come up more frequently than others. That’s why there are more sevens than any other number.
What I think that the lotteries do is obscure the regressivity of their product by promoting it as something fun to do for a little while, and they rely on messages about how it helps the state — but those messages tend to be misleading because they don’t put winnings in the context of overall state revenue. This creates a false impression that the lotteries are helping the state, when they are actually taking money from the poor and giving it to wealthy people who don’t need it.