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Who really benefits?

Today I’m going to have another go at the gambling industry, notably the lottery mob. Now let’s get this straight. I don’t have anything against gambling myself, I do occasionally buy a lottery ticket. No, my problem lies with the marketing of this industry and the negative side effects on the lives of those who become addicted to the thrill of the gamble. The industry as a whole makes noises which would make you think they don’t want people gambling to excess, to the detriment of their general wellbeing but, I honestly don’t think they really care if you can’t afford food or to pay your bills as long as you’re giving them money. That however, is a different rant. Todays is about the charity angle used in the marketing of lotteries. Charity, yes charity. They all do it, tell you when you buy a lottery ticket that you could win this much money and charities will benefit. Some of the money goes to charity, good. A look at the National Lottery web site for a breakdown reveals that, of what they take only 1% is kept as profit and 4% is spent on operating costs. That’s not bad on the face of it, it leaves lots for charity. What it doesn’t say is how much goes on pay outs. Without that information it is impossible to say how much the charities benefit as a percentage of the cost of your ticket. The Postcode Lottery website does state a minimum of 30% of the ticket price goes to charity and that’s not actually bad.

So what exactly is my problem? It’s the marketing ploy used and what it can lead too. When you see an actor playing a winner or maybe even a genuine winner saying to the camera “I Won whatever amount, you could too and just think of the charities that benefit”. Just think of the charities that benefit, don’t think of the money you’ll probably lose. But that phrase “just think of the charities that benefit” justifies, to your subconscious, the act of gambling with a lottery. It becomes an act of charity. An act you’re less likely to think about before doing. I mean what can be bad about an act of charity? When it’s buying a lottery ticket the harm can be the same as putting a bet on a horse. Sitting in front of the TV waiting to see if your numbers come up can be just as exciting as watching the horse race. It has the same effects on the brain. The chemicals released are the same and so it can be just as damaging.

In short we should see lotteries for what they are and that’s gambling, not a charitable donation. There is a difference between the local school having a lottery to raise money to mend the roof, where you have the chance of winning a cake or small value voucher for a local shop rather than the excitement of the possibility of winning millions that you get with the major lottery companies such as the Postcode Lottery. So if you want to play a lottery, play a lottery. Just don’t see it as a charitable donation. See it in the same way as you see any other form of gambling because it is the same. Before buying a lottery ticket ask yourself can you afford to lose that money. If the answer is no, keep it in your pocket, you need more than they do. If that makes you feel anxious about not being in the lottery, you have a problem. If you want to make a charitable donation, give the money to a charity of your choice. They get it all that way.

If you do feel you have a problem with gambling remember help is available. There are charities that can help and of course hypnotherapy is great for helping with this sort of thing. In case you’re wondering, and you’re probably not. I did check out the National Lottery and Postcode Lottery websites for the charities they donate too. Couldn’t find a list on the Postcode Lottery site but I could on the site for the National Lottery. Guess what, I couldn’t find a mention of any charity that helps gamblers give up. If I’m wrong and they do give to gambling charities such as Gamblers Anonymous then I apologise, but I couldn’t see any listed.

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