Editorial: Something stinks about Lotto fever

By Doug Laing

8 comments

Call it entrapment if you like, but something's not quite right about the Lotto fever.

With Powerball's first division expected to top $34 million tomorrow - the second-to-largest prize ever offered in New Zealand - there's an irresistibility about it, but many punters will feel that while they can't afford it, they can't afford to not be in.

For those caught in this predicament the costs per week doubled overnight at the end of last September when separate midweek option Big Wednesday was shut down and Lotto and Powerball increased in regularity from one draw a week to two.

Those on some sort of weekly Lotteries budget having blown the kitty last Saturday night worry about how they may feel if the numbers come up tomorrow, and they're not in. Spewing, one suspects. Oddly, there appears to have been no outcry from any anti-gambling lobby about what is now becoming evident as we pass Powerball's record $33 million paid to a West Auckland ticket-holder in 2013, and close in on the overall lotteries record $35.2 million Big Wednesday windfall paid to a Masterton family in 2009.

If not struck, it could go to $40 million, an insane extreme for those recalling that a $12,000 Golden Kiwi first prize once used to be enough to buy a house and a car, but nothing beside the US$1 billion in the US powerball in January.

With everyone from problem gamblers to nuns and the wowsiest of wowsers now hooked, we'll not only be busting records for the national numbers game's biggest pot, but also the number of Lotto/Powerball investors, which had dropped to an average 1.23 million people a week when they decided they'd better do something about it. Let's hope it goes to people who need it, preferably several.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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