North Dakota Lottery Sales At Ten Times Their Usual Rate


What’s the word when something is ten times something else? Decuple. That’s it.

Some interesting numbers from this John Hageman piece in the Grand Forks Herald:

Minnesota lottery officials said Saturday they were selling at $8,643 per minute, and in North Dakota, total lottery sales totaled more than $4.1 million last week, roughly 10 times the average weekly sales of $400,000 to $450,000.

That’s pretty remarkable. Just to put it in context, in the 2014-2015 fiscal year which ended on June 30 the North Dakota lottery deposited a total of $6.1 million in the state’s general fund.

I suspect this year’s deposit will likely be bigger.

I’ve never understood why people play the lottery. I understand that the enormous jackpot currently available is drawing a lot of people in, but the reason why the jackpot is so big right now is because in October lottery officials made the odds of winning it longer, from one in 175 million to one in 292 million according to the New York Times. So, paradoxically, people are buying lottery tickets for a much more unlikely chance to win the jackpot.

You know what they say about fools and their money. I mean, to put those odds into perspective, playing the lottery to win is like trying to commit suicide by taking commercial airline flights as one Redditor points out. Except that you would probably die in an airline crash (one in 11 million chance) long before you would ever win the lottery.

Heck, you’re far more likely to die on the way to the store to buy a lottery ticket (Americans have a 1 in 77 lifetime chance of dying a car accident) than you are to win the lottery.

So why do it? To buy a few moments of fantasy, I guess. You hand over some money, get your tickets, and then you fantasize about what you’d do if you won.

Save your money.  Dreaming is free.