Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Lotto mania - as bad as pokies

3 comments
More than 2.7 million tickets entered into Saturday's draw for a chance to win $40 million.
More than 2.7 million tickets entered into Saturday's draw for a chance to win $40 million.

With $40 million up for grabs, Lotto was a major topic of conversation last week but it made me wonder how it is any different from pokies.

I'm not a Lotto fan. I can't bring myself to spend $15 or more on a ticket which will probably get me nothing.

I grudgingly put a few dollars into an office ticket once but that was my sole foray into Lotto.

I was gobsmacked to read there were more than 2.7 million tickets entered into Saturday's draw and at the busiest point on Saturday Lotto outlets were selling more than 3000 tickets a minute. Lotto sales for the week were just under $60 million, with Saturday's draw accounting for $40 million of that.

Those figures seem crazy to me considering there are fewer than five million people in New Zealand.

Three lucky punters won $13 million and 50 or so others took home a decent amount but most people will have walked away with nothing. And I wonder how much those winners have spent buying tickets throughout their lives?

Most regular players will spend thousands on Lotto over the course of their lives and win only a few bucks here and there.

One New Zealand player spent $10,000 on Lotto tickets ahead of the weekend's draw - to me that is insane.

I can think of better ways to spend that money. Or if you want to make more why not put it in the bank where you are almost guaranteed to come out better off.

Lotto is gambling - just a more socially acceptable form of it. In essence it is no different from playing pokies yet there is a huge stigma around pokies (and rightly so, I say). Why are we so accepting of Lotto?

Yes, Lotto profits do go back to the community but there are bound to be Lotto players who are spending money they should be using to pay off debts or feed the family.

If you can afford to pay the bills, put food on the table and heat your house, then it's up to you what you do with any leftover money.

Lotto tickets would not be my suggestion, though - how about putting it away for retirement or even donating some to a charity?

- Northern Advocate

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