A dollar and a dream, that all it takes to be a winner at Lotto a game of chance where everyone wants to be a winner. With phrases like, “You Gotta be in to Win it” and “All it Takes Is a Dollar and a Dream” seem to echo in the hallways of chance catapulting one to dash off to the local convenience store and purchase 10 or 25 tickets when the pot increases. Time and time again we watch the local news as they repeat those “winning lotto stories” thus turning up the volume of the opportunity to become a millionaire. What if your life or loss of life was the “give-away”? What would you choose, would you play, what would be the driving force behind your decision? The answer to these questions may not be so easy to make based on many factors or perhaps just one.
The lottery has been around since about 1965. In fact lotteries were illegal until 1964 according to the NGISC (National Gambling Impact Study Commission). Seems like those things that are for one reason or another deemed under the header as may not be good for human consumption are the things certain populations of folk will fight tooth and nail for. Alcohol, marijuana, gaming, and even abortion to name a few were labeled as illegal activities. Come with me as we take a walk down the avenue of winners and losers.
Alcohol – The Prohibition Amendment was adopted in the 1920s allowing the making and selling of alcoholic beverages illegal. However the Eighteenth Amendment of U.S. Constitution established that only certain intoxicating liquors were prohibited, so for instance the medical field and some religious groups could participate in consumption as long as the intent was not to “intoxicate” oneself. The Volstead Act further went on to define “intoxicating” and briefly state the Act provided three definitions: (1) to prohibit intoxicating beverages, (2) to regulate the manufacture, sale, or transport of intoxicating liquor (but not consumption), and (3) to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye and other lawful industries and practices, such as religious rituals.
Cannabis – In the 1600’s colonists were ordered to grow hemp for export and even George Washington grew his own batch of Marijuana. As in the “natural” course of things, pun intended, someone somewhere figured out that smoking it much like the consumption of alcohol provided a sense of well-being. There you have it in 2012 the smoking of marijuana purely for enjoyment was legalized in the state of Washington.
Abortion – A topic with grave proportions hit the circuit in Roe v. Wade. In 1973 the court ruled 7 – 2 that women had the right to abort a pregnancy, governed by the length of gestation, if she so desired. One little case that is rarely mention is the case of Doe v. Bolton where the state of Georgia would only allow abortions under the following conditions: (1) injury to the mother; (2) in rape cases; and (3) presumed deformity of the fetus. This topic continues to be a struggle today in deciding when life begins under the extreme headers of Life vs. Murder.
Gaming – Last but not least the highs and lows of “trooping” with the “Big Dawgs” a more commonly known phrase used by some young folk in urban neighborhoods. In this area the art of winning is defined as luck, chance, opportunity, a “feeling”. I’ve watched some individuals play the gambling machines at the local casino and to my extreme surprise I have witnessed people (in hopes of manipulating “luck”) wiping the gambling screen, or attempting to calculate the number “wins” based on the amount of money used on each pull of the handle. For example on the dollar machine with a max bet of $10 they would play $1 for 5 pulls of the handle and on the 6h pull increase their bet to the maximum $10 dollars. I ask the question then what is luck and what is the driving force to achieve luck and can it be achieved and or manipulated?
According to Merriam-Webster, luck is defined as , “a force that brings good fortune or adversity”. Adversity! What is this! I proclaimed. When I think of luck it has always been associated with good fortune, and then I remembered – ahhh yes as the artist Harold Melvin states in his song Bad Luck written by himself and the Blue Notes the singer talks about bad luck may feel like the lyrics state, “…Played a number `cause that number’s hot stuff, But the bookies get you for every cent you’ve got, Walk around in a daze with your pockets bare, Go to see your woman and she ain’t even there.” Very descriptive of someone who has made a decision to gamble for what ever reason and now that’s he has spent all his money he goes to see his woman and she’s gone. Geeze sounds like if you make a not so good decision everything subsequent goes awry. Why would some folk make a decision to gamble, life stressors, i.e. a broken heart the possibility of foreclosure on a home or even watching your car roll backwards down a cliff just when the bank has demanded the return of the vehicle due to non-payment. These and other scenarios can be the catalyst for playing the lotto or gambling on the machines in the casino in hopes that the “luck” will change. Not to mention the players that have won and won exceptionally large amounts of cash in lottery drawings could make one believe they too can be a millionaire.
For example in Pennsylvania there was a winner of $250,000 in their Mega Millions ® Jackpot sales. The mere thought of receiving a quarter of million dollars for purchasing a PA Lottery Daily Number ticket coupled with paying off ones debt could surely be enough incentive to think that one’s “bad luck” will be changed in an instant. In CT and PA there are two chances to win on the same day. For example in Pennsylvania there is the opportunity to win the PA Lottery Daily Number in both the afternoon and again in the evening Yet in CT one would have to play twice to win either in the morning or in the afternoon. I suspect that with even that small increase in the chances of winning from once a day to twice a day not only produce increase sales for the state lottery – then why do schools not have enough books and supplies? In the State of CT in 2012 the President and CEO of the CT Lottery indicated that not only did they celebrate multiple years of success but that they raised $7.2 billion dollars for programs such as education and public health again I ask why are teachers spending their own funds on supplies?
Is it possible that the forces that drive one to play lotto can have severe consequences? Absolutely, if this is indeed a game of chance then all attributes of chance become optional. There was a moment in time where if you were “chosen” the prize would be the life of your child. That’s right, in the book of Exodus in the Bible the writer tells of a story where God released a plague that would kill the first born of Egypt from the Pharaoh’s son to the first born of the cattle. It would appear that “luck” was not on the side of the Hebrews unless they envoked the power of the blood and brushed in on their front door, again what’s luck got to do with it? Again I ask what is it to have “luck” and what is the driving force of luck just how does it work? In my summation “luck” would be a combination of everything about a person, their desire to seek great things without doing much work.
Good luck in all your endeavors or not.
King James Bible – http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission http://aglc.ca/gaming
National Gambling Impact Study http://govinfo.library.unt.edu
National Archives – http://www.archives.gov
Merriam Webster – http://www.merriam-webster.com
You Tube – http://youtu.be/AzZRQHjvx-A
Pennsylvania Lottery – http://www.palottery.com
Connecticut Lottery – http://www.ctlottery.org