Opinion: Buying a Lotto ticket is useless, even when the prize is huge

OPINION: Lotto isn't a con, but it's about as close as it could be without actually being one.

I'm from a big Lotto-playing family and I'm the only one in it who definitely won't win big because I'm the one who won't buy a ticket.

I used to dream of the lavish life I could lead if I won Lotto, travelling the world, staying in five-star accommodation, living in a huge house with lots of dogs and never working again.

But let's be honest, if my mother has been buying a Lotto ticket every week as long as I remember and is yet to win the jackpot, what are my odds?

Turns out they're pretty damn awful, about one in 38,383,800 apparently, and I'm not prepared to waste my time hoping one day the numbers on that yellow slip of paper will be the same as the ones on TV.

You could say it's fine to buy the ticket because the money goes to charity, but I'm not convinced about that either.

For every dollar spent on Lotto, after deduction for prizes, operating costs etc, 22 cents goes to charity. 

The rest goes on prize money, 55 cents, to the retailers, 6 cents, to operating costs, 5 cents, and to taxes, 12 cents.

If you spent all of that $38 million up for grabs on Lotto tickets this week you would be funnelling $8.36 million back to charity. 

More likely though, $2.64 of the $12 ticket most people this week will buy to get nothing back is going to the organisations that receive Lotto community grants, and I know I can give more if I donate my time or money to organisations directly.

Yeah, all this makes me a wet blanket, a party pooper, a spoilsport, but I have had it with the hope, the daydreaming, the wondering what I could do with all that money.

What really put the nail in the coffin for me was when how what I daydreamed about changed as I got older. 

Travelling the world became paying off my student loan, my huge house with lots of dogs turned into buying a water-tight apartment in the city I live in, and never working again became having a healthy retirement fund.

They're such basic wishes, but I realised I was better off sorting out my own dreams than hoping the magic ball machine would. You have to wonder what dreams punters on the lowest end of the income spectrum would have.

What about the people who wish for a full pantry, being able to pay the rent next week or dig themselves out of debt?

They're being charged at least $12 a pop for a whole lot of wasted hope and that's pretty bloody stink to me.

Katie Fitzgerald is a digital news producer for Newshub.