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(Guardian)   Confirming that the lottery is a tax on the stupid, scratch tickets withdrawn because customers couldn't understand them   (blogs.guardian.co.uk) divider line 136
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6577 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Nov 2007 at 3:15 PM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2007-11-09 12:49:31 PM
It's slightly alarming to learn the average person on the street has difficulties with something as simple as negative numbers, though with 15.1m with poor numeracy perhaps Camelot is at fault for making it too complicated.

Nah. It's 15.1m people's fault for being stupid.
 
2007-11-09 02:25:33 PM
The story quotes player Tina Farrell, 23:

I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.

I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn't say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled.


Does she work for Verizon? Might explain how people think .002 dollars and .002 cents are the same thing.
 
2007-11-09 03:18:57 PM
Daaaaaaaaaaaamn that's dumb!
 
2007-11-09 03:19:12 PM
repeat?
hello?
 
2007-11-09 03:19:34 PM
That's the 23nd time I've had to explain what innumerate means.
 
2007-11-09 03:19:37 PM
yeah. tax on the stupid....like all the stupid people who keep winning millions every week.

its news when the lotto in CA gets above $20 million here.

and business as usual when someone wins the initial jackpot week after week after week...
 
2007-11-09 03:20:01 PM
This is not amusing. It is sad. All children left behind.
 
2007-11-09 03:21:08 PM
Simple solution: reprint the scratchers in degrees Kelvin. No negative numbers.

Just have to explain to people how 270 degrees is below freezing.
 
2007-11-09 03:21:25 PM
TFA: Lottery operator Camelot has been forced to withdraw a scratchcard because players were too innumerate to understand it


"No one innumerates me."
 
2007-11-09 03:21:37 PM
Oh jesus!

Oh jesus!

Oh jesus please tell me people are not this stupid.

Oh jesus please!
 
2007-11-09 03:21:45 PM
I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.

I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn't say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled.


Yeah, sure.

Too bad -8 is a lower number than -6.

FAIL
 
2007-11-09 03:23:18 PM
impaler: Oh jesus please tell me people are not this stupid.

Heh...Jesus isn't the person I'd be praying to if you want people to be less stupid
 
2007-11-09 03:24:05 PM
Is Camelot in Yarmouth?

/obscure?
 
2007-11-09 03:24:17 PM
I've always believed that the lottery is the ONLY tax which ever has the potential of benefiting me.
 
2007-11-09 03:24:55 PM
yeah. tax on the stupid....like all the stupid people who keep winning millions every week.

For most lotteries it would be: "like that one winner every other week out of 500 million attempts"
 
2007-11-09 03:25:05 PM
15.1 meters? Were they measuring length wise or width wise?
 
2007-11-09 03:25:46 PM
Don't assume that lottery players are stupid (this particular stupidity aside). I live in a state where over 99% of lottery losses end up in college scholarships for people in need. I have no problem spending $1 on a ticket with an average return of $.80 when $.1980 of the remaining $.20 goes to a cause that I would donate to if any equivalent charitable organization had overhead of less than 1%.
 
2007-11-09 03:26:02 PM
I found a $10 winning ticket on the sidewalk once that had a gold bar indicating "win this prize automatically" instead of having to match one of the prize numbers. Thank God for stupid people, and for people who can't read English. Judging from the part of town I was in, I suspect it was the latter.
 
2007-11-09 03:26:59 PM
Scratch tickets have always struck me as a strange sort of 'game'. People 'play' them as if how they play them has some bearing on the outcome. The outcome is predetermined, you are buying a result. Why make it complicated with themes at all? I guess some of us are still distracted by shiny stuff. You are really just trying to decipher a code that tells you if you won, odds are you didn't, so why try again?
 
2007-11-09 03:27:04 PM
I had a stats professor admit to buying one lottery ticket a week.
 
2007-11-09 03:27:19 PM
Tax on the stupid and tax on the uneducated are two different things.

Stupid people are the educated ones that still can't contribute positively to humanity, and in my experience, they tend to be educated enough to avoid the lottery.
 
2007-11-09 03:28:01 PM
Barnstormer: I found a $10 winning ticket on the sidewalk once that had a gold bar indicating "win this prize automatically" instead of having to match one of the prize numbers. Thank God for stupid people, and for people who can't read English. Judging from the part of town I was in, I suspect it was the latter.


Or it fell out of someone's pocket.

/just sayin' z'all
 
2007-11-09 03:28:07 PM
Madman drummers bummers: Simple solution: reprint the scratchers in degrees Kelvin Kalvin. No negative numbers.

/pet peeve
 
2007-11-09 03:28:27 PM
In AZ they have two $1,000,000 tickets in the arizona lottery. the good news for the trailer park, only 350,000 tickets are being sold.

Bought my 2 tickets! best chance ever!

\ am not stupid
\\best chance to win a million
 
2007-11-09 03:28:45 PM
-8 is lower than -6? unpossible!
 
2007-11-09 03:29:04 PM
I just won the lottery, I won a vacation to the island!
 
2007-11-09 03:29:40 PM
Heh, stupid Americans.

oh, wait.
 
2007-11-09 03:29:48 PM
Where are all the Mathletes when you need them?
 
2007-11-09 03:30:00 PM
I worked at a gas station in high school where a large percentage of the customers were addicted to scratch-offs. Of course, they were the lazy kind that would simply scratch them right there in the store on the coffee counter and leave the losing tickets scattered about. Almost every week, some moran would buy those scratch-offs that required you to have 1st grade addition skills and inevitably leave one or two winners behind. Granted, they were never more than $2 winners, but it was free money .
 
2007-11-09 03:30:16 PM
MrBurns: That's the 23nd time I've had to explain what innumerate means.


Make it stop! Make it stop!
 
2007-11-09 03:30:21 PM
cupocha: *In the comments) Strange in an age of record-breaking personal debt that the scratchcard buying public can't compute negative numbers. Overdrawn bank balances, anyone? Does a balance of -£6 make you more or less broke than a balance of -£8, Tina? Maybe this explains a lot.


I was very face in hands when I channel-surfed on a reality show peeking in at salesmen at car dealer.

"I was able to put them in the car for $650 a month."

I got the firm impression that even the salesmen didn't know there was more to it than the amount of the monthly payment. The customers obviously don't think so.

Explains a lot about the mortgage crisis.
 
2007-11-09 03:30:42 PM
-8.-6.....0.....6.8
 
2007-11-09 03:32:33 PM
MrBurns: That's the 23nd time I've had to explain what innumerate means.

I see what you did there...
 
2007-11-09 03:32:54 PM
sparr0: Don't assume that lottery players are stupid (this particular stupidity aside). I live in a state where over 99% of lottery losses end up in college scholarships for people in need. I have no problem spending $1 on a ticket with an average return of $.80 when $.1980 of the remaining $.20 goes to a cause that I would donate to if any equivalent charitable organization had overhead of less than 1%.

So you think that the overhead on the lottery is 0%? Maybe you're not the right one to be deciding who is and who isn't stupid.
 
2007-11-09 03:33:08 PM
You'dnotcare: Madman drummers bummers: Simple solution: reprint the scratchers in degrees Kelvin Kalvin. No negative numbers.

/pet peeve


Hobbes' one's choice?
 
2007-11-09 03:33:22 PM
Did they have to push the pram a lot?
 
2007-11-09 03:33:32 PM
Most of the time I consider the lottery to be a tax on people who are bad at math. They cannot understand how abysmally low their chances are of winning, they just have it in their head that they "might win" all that money, so they keep spending money on it week after month after year. Inwardly, I sort of scoff at how dumb I perceive that to be, and look down a little on the people who do it.

Then at other times I think of how great it would be to win all of those delicious millions, and how buying a ticket is my only shot, and I get to feeling like going out and buying a ticket.

I never do, though. I just can't get past the odds.
 
2007-11-09 03:34:52 PM
This just proves that 4 out of every 3 people are innumerate.
 
2007-11-09 03:35:06 PM
sparr0 I have no problem spending $1 on a ticket with an average return of $.80 when...

How about when the takeout fraction is closer to 40%, as it is in most states?

The morality of a game does NOT depend upon where the house's profits are spent. It depends solely on whether the game offers a fair chance of winning. The definition of 'fair' will vary depending who you ask.

There's a big debate in Taxachusetts right now about the governor's plan to authorize three resort casinos. Personally I'm for them. I don't mind people who oppose the plan on strictly moral grounds, but these same people should be 100% against the state lottery as well. Instead we have a large contingent of people arguing that the casinos will reduce the amount of money (almost a billion dollars) that the lottery returns to the cities and towns. I say GOOD!!! I hope it does reduce lottery revenue. Because what the players will get in return are games of chance with a MUCH better chance of winning.

If you went to a poker game and every hand, right before showing the cards, the house dealer took 40% of the pot and put it in his pocket, would you still play the game? Then go buy a scratch ticket, it's the same thing.
 
2007-11-09 03:35:29 PM
Not getting the below 0 concept might not be due to stupidity... My brother never got the concept, and he is a brillant guy. He just remembers that things are inversed below 0, so it doesn't show much, but he still can't explain why. He can compare temperatures just fine, but in terms of "cooler" and "warmer", not "above" or "below" (just like what the girl in the article implies)

I think that it's just like a dislexia but with numbers, it has nothing to do with intelligence IMHO.
 
2007-11-09 03:35:49 PM
Hang On Voltaire: I had a stats professor admit to buying one lottery ticket a week.

It does make a certain kind of sense, if you look at the expected value.

Really, the lottery is just the stock market for people who don't know any better. The expected values for returns at the lottery and returns for the stock market are remarkably similar.
 
2007-11-09 03:35:58 PM
You'dnotcare
Madman drummers bummers: Simple solution: reprint the scratchers in degrees Kelvin Kalvin. Kelvin No negative numbers.

/pet peeve


/pet peeve
 
2007-11-09 03:36:42 PM
sparr0: Don't assume that lottery players are stupid (this particular stupidity aside). I live in a state where over 99% of lottery losses end up in college scholarships for people in need. I have no problem spending $1 on a ticket with an average return of $.80 when $.1980 of the remaining $.20 goes to a cause that I would donate to if any equivalent charitable organization had overhead of less than 1%.


I'd like to see real, audited figures between the differing lotteries and states - in a timeline, too. You may be correct in an instance, but I'm VERY curious as to overall.
 
2007-11-09 03:38:14 PM
Explain it by comparing it to being in debt. That should be familiar to those who buy lottery tickets.
 
2007-11-09 03:38:41 PM
My brother never got the concept, and he is a brillant guy.

If you brother can't grasp the concept of negative numbers, he isn't brilliant - by definition!
 
2007-11-09 03:38:44 PM
I think a big part of the scratch-off fallacy is the assumption (key, assumption) that it is a 1:1 payoff, they figure they are coming out even and just having fun, with the outside chance of winning thousands

/I have direct proof of this
//very stupid person
 
2007-11-09 03:38:57 PM
If you drive one mile to buy your state lottery ticket and one mile home again, the chances that you'll be killed in a car accident on the way are better than your chances of winning the jackpot...
 
2007-11-09 03:40:42 PM
The lottery is not a bad deal. See Marginal Utility and St. Petersberg Paradox.

Or, for a more common losing proposition that weighs unlikely occurence vs. certain small loss, see insurance.
 
2007-11-09 03:41:27 PM
I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off

I phoned Misty at a 1-866 number and I fobbed myself off.
 
2007-11-09 03:43:32 PM
In Georgia the lottery is designed to tax the poor and give to the rich.

I'll explain: Any GA high school graduate with a B average or above gets a free ride to any GA state school on the Hope Scholarship with NO limitation based on need.

Since wealthier kids generally do better in school, they tend to get the largest share of the money. This has been proven through state research.

Still, how dumb do you have to be to not graduate with at least a B average in Georgia?
 
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