Why You Shouldn’t Play the Lottery


A lottery is a game of chance or process in which winners are selected by drawing lots. It is also a popular form of gambling, encouraging people to pay a small amount in order to have a low-odds chance of winning a large prize, often administered by state or federal governments. Lottery prizes range from cash to goods and services, including sports team draft picks, college scholarships, and scarce medical treatment.

Many people buy lottery tickets because they have an inextricable impulse to gamble. But, even these people understand that the odds of winning are long. The truth is, there are only two kinds of people who play the lottery: 1) those who get a thrill from losing money and 2) those who don’t understand basic mathematics. It’s important to remember that there are no “lucky” numbers and that the intelligence, honesty, poverty, creativity, or luck of participants has no bearing on who wins.

Another reason to avoid playing the lottery is that it is a form of covetousness, or the desire for things that others possess. God’s Word forbids covetousness: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17). Lotteries also offer hope that if you win, you can solve all of life’s problems – but this is an empty promise (see Ecclesiastes 5:10). It’s far better to focus on building an emergency fund and paying off debt.