Taking a Gamble

New Zealanders spend $870 Million Lotto in New Zealand (the round balls or Instant Kiwi scratchies) every year. The figure is growing rapidly. Five years ago, that figure was $600 Million.
Thank about that. We spend an average of $200 for every man, woman and child on lotto.

Doing the maths on chances of winning big in lotto make for standard high school statistics exercises (1 in 3,838,380 for Lotto, 1 in 16,290,120 for Big Wednesday, and an incredibly faint 1 in 38,383,800 for Powerball)

But I was curious to find out how big the pot was… what percentage of takings actually get put back as prizes? How much is spent on advertising? Costs? How much goes to Lotteries Grants? Did some number crunching from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission and came up with the following chart.
To put that in another term, for every dollar spent on lotto, 10c goes to the government, 7c goes to the person you bought the ticket from, 4c is spent convincing you to buy more tickets, 19c goes to community groups, and only 55c is put into the pot for you to win. Or not. These are not particularly winning odds.
Have we a problem?
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