10 things I really hate about the lottery


Kelsey Zachow's $66 million Mega Millions winnings were the largest ever won by a Michigan lottery player on a Friday the 13th. I bet she'll never dislike that date again!

Maybe hate is too strong a word. There's not really much I really hate about anything... so maybe 'annoys me' would be a better term.

Here goes:

Shannon Scott (right) won a $50,000 top prize on the Green and Gold scratch-off. Should she have played the lottery instead? Photo: Maryland Lottery Snapshots

1. The waiting for a game to draw each week. A week is too long. If I were to take a daily game, the prize amounts are generally too small. Scratchers or the casino are not real options either - they don't offer high enough prize amounts to interest me.

2. There's very few games with good odds. The odds of winning for different lotteries around the world vary enormously. You only need look at your LottoPredict chart to see that the good 3-star games are few and far between. I'm pleased our game in New Zealand has the best odds of most world games, but I'm disappointed everyone can't play it. I developed the Winner's Circle to overcome that.

Why the lottery blows every other winning opportunity away. Franco Varone won $50 million in a Canadian Lotto Max draw.

3. Hoping a win will solve all life's problems. If you put your life on hold while you wait for the lottery to fix your problems, you'll be disappointed. The answer is to stay positive, but continue to play with enthusiasm, because the lottery is the only way you can leverage a tiny amount of money into a vast fortune without skill.


A Mega Millions lottery queue for the $640 million draw in March 2012.

4. The big queues just before the draw. Because it means wasted time standing in the line. I play close to the date so I can have my money working for me for as long as possible. But at 4pm on a draw day, that's when everyone plays and the queue is a long one. I will try and get in at morning hours, but that's when I'm writing these posts - so I'll have to be more patient I guess.

The Lohse family don't seem too worried about losing $111 million in taxes and cash option after winning $202 million.

5. The taxes. Not in our country (New Zealand) but in many lotteries over a third of the total win amount goes to personal and state taxes, which together with an all-cash option brings the total jackpot down a lot. The only countries who don't have taxes deducted at the draw are Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, United Kingdom.

Even traditional balls in a barrel can be tricky. John Travolta (pictured) featured in "Lucky Numbers"... a film drawing on the experience of a 1980 Pennsylvania lottery scam.

6. How the draw is made. Some countries have draws that are made electronically, whereas I prefer a physical ball system. Canada's OLG Lottery uses a digital draw system, and as they say in their website: "The Guaranteed Prize draws for LOTTO 6/49 and the WHEEL OF FORTUNE LOTTO® nightly draws are conducted using an electronic random generator system that has been independently tested and certified, and not with a traditional lottery ball-drop machine."

Australia is just one of over 200 countries playing my system, with our largest winner taking $22.2 million in the Oz Lotto.

7. The last 2%. That's the amount left that is down to pure luck when you use my System. While I'd love to offer a 100% winning system, as everyone knows that's just not possible. I've come close to 100% win rate (a prize in EVERY game) for months at a time, but inevitably I'll have a week or two of misses which brings the total back to 98% win rate. I get this high rate by (a) playing a 3-star game (b) playing frequently (c) playing with the maximum number of tickets recommended by my System. It's easy then!

The downside of a rolloever - these 48 Pennsylvania Powerball winners who shared the $107 million jackpot only got $2.2 million each.

8. The rollover period. Sometimes a game can take up to a month of unwon prizes to roll over to a major prize amount. Since I don't often play seriously until our game jackpot is above $10 million, that means it will sometimes take several weeks or more to get to an exciting level of $20-30 million plus. I'd really like the total amount to be larger sooner so I can play more often.

Kathryn Jones lost her ticket but was shocked to learn how the lottery organistion tracked her down to give her a $50 million win.

9. That your ticket is the only evidence in a win. Sometimes the lottery will pursue a missing ticket with extraordinary skill, as seen here. But most times if you lose the ticket - there goes your chances. It would be great to have a rock-solid way of confirming a ticket. In the meantime, treat every ticket as a million dollar goldmine until you find out that it isn't: Keep your tickets in one place. Put your tickets in a pouch or folder. Write your name on every winning ticket. Photocopy your winning tickets. Get your ticket numbers checked by your lotto shop after each game.

They thought they had only won $50,000. But when Ontario couple JoAnn and Gaetan Champagne collected their Lotto Max win, it turned out to be$50 million.

10. The more I play, the harder it is to check the prize. While I ALWAYS get my tickets checked by machine at the store, it would be nice to know on the night if one of my combinations is a winning one. I have a lot of tickets to check and it's just not easy to check them all by hand. 

So in the end these are not real complaints, but just gripes that I can live with. The jackpot will more than make up for these little annoyances for all of us!