So, lotteries, from a systems perspective, can't be used to pump money out of the people operating them. Not in theory, and if you find an exception, not for long. It makes no sense. Lotteries are established to collect money. The jackpot is not mispriced to foil that objective.

See how much math I saved myself from doing? I don't know why so many people attempt to, for example, use multiplication. Those that do might accidentally presume a dollar in their pocket today is roughly the same use to them as the 1,600,000,000th dollar that could be in their pocket, which is pretty hard to believe.

So even if the multiplication on dollars yields a positive expected value (unlikely in the extreme), even after taxes (forget about it), then they'd be screwing over poor-future-them in a desperate grab at megarich-future-them. Only by a dollar or two, but still.

But what I've heard more often is, the experience of playing the lottery is imagining, so you're paying a small amount for a week of fantasizing.

This entertainment argument... it's harder to dismiss. While I think operating a casino is a moral wrong, I have no moral objection to playing at one (for roughly the same reason it is not a moral wrong to be robbed). So I bought a ticket.

That was an oddly stressful time for me. My primary emotional relation to the lottery ticket was the odd sense of dread – what if I win and lose the ticket? I'm not someone who wants desperately for money. If I had unimaginable sums it would be donated to people who've never met me, nor I them. It wouldn't impact my life at all, really. But if I failed them, if a jackpot went to a drunkard or a fool because I failed to cash in, I wouldn't forgive myself.

Suffice it to say, lotteries are not welcome in my life. I hope whoever won the recent record setting jackpot uses it well.