Fortunately, in the past ten years there has been a lot of good personal finance information put online, but you will still see tons of articles written about what you should do if you win the lottery even though it is extremely uncommon. When the lottery gets to hundreds of millions you will see tons of articles on along this thread, but let’s discuss where the lottery and gambling play into your finances. Being addicted to gambling is a serious problem and will really hurt your finances, so if you are going to do it I’d set up some boundaries. For me, I will only buy a lottery ticket if the prize is over $500 million. I know the expected value is negative, but I am playing for the same reason everyone else does, because wouldn’t it be cool to get instantly rich? As for gambling, I only play roulette in Singapore because instead of 0 to 36 with 00 they have 0 to 36. It may not seem like a big difference, but it makes your money last longer until you are ruined but the odds are still against you. I will only spend $50 and I rarely go to Singapore so this isn’t a huge expense on my finances. Be careful with betting because it can cause huge problems.
When in Taiwan
However, in Taiwan, you can participate in the lottery without paying for your ticket. Instead, they have a receipt lottery where any purchase you make you get a receipt with an eight digit serial number which is your ticket. I calculated the expected value of each receipt around 3 cents. Every two months there is a drawing and you can win up to $300,000 but as little as $6. I collected all the receipts pictured above and one was a $6 prize winner.
I would consider sporting betting as gambling as well. However, I think daily fantasy is the worst type because it is addictive and there are pros who can dominate the noobs. The typical noob is an 18 to 25-year-old male who should be saving his money which will compound greatly into retirement. I think it is veiled gambling, but it somehow exists in the legal grey area. If you are going to bet, I’d do so with friends then you can lose your money to someone you know and maybe win some back occasionally.
I would not advocate betting, but I know it can be a thrill, so treat it as an entertainment expense. You could go to the movies, miniature golf, or gambling, but you can sure burn through money faster gambling so watch out. As for the $6 I won, I sent the receipt to Taiwan so someone can claim it as I’m not going back for that amount.