Thursday, November 13, 2008

There oughtta be a law against...

It's not a valid retirement plan!

Remember when the government thought gambling was bad? I do. Then I remember them selling the Lottery as the greatest thing ever because it would funnel gazillions of dollars into our schools. Now we have billions in lottery revenues but the schools always seem to be broke. We've been hornswaggled!

Surely you've heard the lottery referred to as an 'idiot tax'. It's an apt name. Educated people in the middle to upper classes buy relatively few lottery tickets. People who earn the least play the most. They cry out for redistribution of wealth and then stop by the 7-Eleven to supplement the revenues of state governments with money they can't afford to spend. A tax from which intelligent people are exempt.

So what about casinos? Well that's a funny thing. Of course these days you can find a casino or two in most major cities but that didn't come easy. Even in states running their own lotteries casinos had a tough time getting established. Again though, we were promised they would save our failing schools and again we are fattening up state coffers and still our schools are broke and failing. This isn't the interesting bit though.

What strikes me is that there are people who support lotteries but think casino gambling is immoral and should be outlawed. I think the opposite is true! Why? The odds man, the odds! Let's look at a couple of long term gambling plays as an example.

Gambling with the government: Let's use Powerball as an example in which you have a 36:1 chance of winning ANY prize at all. This means you will win something 2.7% of the time. Reality check: That something is going to be $3. The jackpot odds are an astonishing 146,107,962 to 1.

So if you spend $100 on Powerball tickets, you will lose 97 times and win $3 three times for a net loss of $91 and you will have exactly zero units of fun. (I think they're called gigglehertz or something.)

Gambling with the casino: Lets take that same $100 to the roulette wheel. Now we will bet $1 per spin on black or red. There are 2 green numbers on the wheel giving the house a modest edge. Whichever color we pick, we will win 48% of the time doubling our bet. So after 100 spins we lost 52 times and won $2 48 times for a net loss of FOUR FUCKING DOLLARS.

By taking our $100 to the casino we've saved $87! That's enough money to eat a good dinner and get drunk off your ass. Now you've actually had an evening's entertainment. That's like over 9,000 Gigglehertz!

Despite this, until a week ago, the State of Missouri enforced loss limits at casinos while allowing you to spend as much money on lottery tickets as you like!

Pro-tip: If you want to go to the casino play poker! Why? You aren't playing against the house! You only have to beat the other players at the table and most of them are idiots!

Disclaimer: Playing any house game is a losing proposition and I am in no way suggesting you should do it. The point of this post is not so much pro-gambling as it is anti-hypocrisy!

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