Fun Police want to limit Lotto

June 17th, 2009 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

Is there nothing the Fun Police don’t want to stop or restrict?

On the day of a record $26 million Big Wednesday Lotto draw, counsellors are calling for a lower limit on lottery jackpots.

Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey wants the $30 million cap on jackpots – doubled from $15 million in 2005 – to be cut to $12.5 million, which is below the level at which the public usually gets excited.

Oh yes we can’t have people getting excited.

If you accept the notion that because a very small minority of people have a problem with an activity, then everyone should be prevented from taking part in an activity – well we end up with a sterile society.

But the Lotteries Commission appears happy to see jackpot limits go even higher.

In a November briefing paper to then Internal Affairs Minister Richard Worth, the commission said it was looking into joining a proposed “world lottery” headed by Britain’s National Lottery.

“It is very likely that participation would entail lifting the current $30 million prize limit set on our games,” the paper said.

Great. There should be no limit. So long as there is transparency over the odds of winning, we should be able to have as big a prize pool as people want.

And while we are at it, why does the state have a monopoly in Lotto?

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47 Responses to “Fun Police want to limit Lotto”

  1. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    WRONG DPF. The real question is Why haven’t I won it yet.

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  2. billyborker (1,102 comments) says:

    And while we are at it, why does the state have a monopoly in Lotto?

    Go ask the Victorians where, after almost a century of successfully run lotteries by tatts, the government opened up to competetive tender and awarded some lotteries to intralot who have fucked it over big tiome, failing to meet targets, pissing off selling agents and costing the state millions in revenue.

    Or, go ask the people of South Australia who owned a very lucrative TAB. It was sold, for ideological reasons only, for the equivalent of two years’s income. The buyer? The people of Queensland who had a government that saw the huge potential and knew that if a government couldn’t run a TAB, how the fuck could it run a state?

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  3. Brian Marshall (202 comments) says:

    I’m happy that the state has a monopoly in lotto. At least I know the profits are going to end back up in the community. Also the state does not have a monopoly on gambling.

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  4. Nigel (514 comments) says:

    As someone once said ( Cactus Kate ? ) Lotteries are an idiot tax, so yeah I think some limits are a good idea.

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  5. Darren (12 comments) says:

    Who really NEEDS 30 million dollars.

    I find it obscene.

    Greedy little piggies.

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  6. Razork (375 comments) says:

    While I hope i’m the lucky winner tonight I do wonder if having a such a massive first prize is such a good idea. Seriously $28M is probably too much for most people to comprehend.

    How about 28 people each winning $1,000,000?
    At least that way the economy would get the instant boost without the social fallout that envaribly occurs when people who have no idea about money end up with a fortune.

    As an aiside I’m an employer who’s staff have syndicated together to buy tickets for the draw tonight and I am terrified they might win it.
    Imagine if 10 of my core office staff share the $28M!

    It would decimate my business.

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  7. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    I find a number of things offensive about the current lotto set up:

    – state ownership, and the focus of this government-owned gambling house on targetting those least able to afford to gamble – take a close look at their ads
    – the creation of a structure of dependency for charities who go cap in hand to the government for money from lotto
    – the deliberate creation of a statutory monopoly (it might make sense for a transpower but makes no sense for a gambling house)

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  8. MT_Tinman (3,184 comments) says:

    I’m still unsure about this LOTTO lark.

    If I don’t win something soon I might have to try doing something different.

    Maybe buy a ticket.

    DPF, large LOTTO jackpots tend to take very significant amounts of money out of the economy and as this is a state-protected business I believe this is a bad idea and limiting the size of those jackpots to be a damned good idea.

    I do agree that the reasons the fun police name are pure bullshit.

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  9. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Yep – this is more about 9 years of teaching the good citizens to despise wealth. I wont be long before wealthy people are ridiculed and called “Rick Pricks” ……. oh hang on

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  10. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    Dull-headed lifeless wowserism at it’s most pathetic. If a few born losers get excited enough to pour all their income into pokie machines by the prospect of winning a grand or two, then is there really any point worrying about the difference between one million and 28 million ?

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  11. Father Ted (85 comments) says:

    There is NO recession in New Zealand.
    Kind regards
    Dream Police.

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  12. Lance (2,654 comments) says:

    This is why NZ is so limited in it’s outlook.
    We will never NEVER rise above a half arsed little tourist trap until we think like people who want to succeed.
    On the surface $30 million dollars is a lot to spend on the high life, but what if the winner has always wanted to start a world beating company? A new research centre, build a resort.
    It is none of the state’s business to limit this sort of dream. As long as it’s a few million prize pool and a mentality to match, sure the Boat, the Batch and the Beamer will be about it. NZ consigned to a consumer society with recollections of a by-gone era when NZ was great.
    We talk about wanting to be in the top half of the OECD when a good chunk of the population hates Auckland the business power house. Fuck what a dismal outlook, no wonder anyone with ambition leaves, it’s all about wealth distribution not wealth creation. Aim for mediocrity… you certainly won’t hit higher.

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  13. Trevor Mallard (248 comments) says:

    Can the mathematicians out there tell us when the jackpot is high enough to make the odds +ve?

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  14. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    1. Why a monopoly? Lotto offers very poor odds, the organisers pay out in prizes only around 50% of the income. It genuinely is a stupidity tax. If it were competitive it would probably offer odds closer to what a casino does. That would mean that people would logically shift to the offer that paid out more, and it would reduce the stupidity tax take. The govt would have to find another way to make up that funding shortfall. Not saying that is necessarily good – a stupidity tax is the ultimate regressive tax – but that is the reason.

    2. Who needs $30 million. In strict logical terms, needs are the things you have to have to live – food, air, water, shelter, clothing. Everything else is wants. So for the idiot above who thinks nobody needs $30 million – yes, you’re strictly correct. But you don’t need any money at all on that definition, so why have a minimum wage – how perverse. Once we accept that people are actually allowed to have things beyond their needs – they are allowed to satisfy their wants – who are you to decide how much money someone can have? What kind of crap is that? If we want to have a prosperous society, or even accept that some of us want to have a prosperous society and that you have no right to interfere, then you also need to accept that some people want to have more than $30 million. Me for example. Not that I’d still be working if I had $29 million, hanging out for that extra million to make my life complete.

    3. Larger jackpots, more interest. The logic here is, I think, that the ticket price doesn’t change, and the prize does, so it looks like a good deal. In reality, the expected payout doesn’t change greatly – because all the smaller prizes don’t change much in value, and because so many more people play that you’re more likely to end up sharing a prize with a larger number of people.

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  15. wikiriwhis business (3,996 comments) says:

    This is where the gist lies with me,

    What if someone won ultra millions, then got it into thieir head they could help society.

    THey might set up food kitchens, invest in schools, set up breakfast places for school kids in underpriviliged areas.

    THe possibilities are endless.

    THey might even prove Bill gates a liar, because with his multi billions, he says he doesn’t know how to help.

    THey would definitely embarrass the govt.

    All it takes is for someone to say Otara could do with something for its kids and the politicians would be caught compromised.

    Do you think personalities are going to ignore some one who said they wanted to invest in youth infrastructure with $30m

    THey’d organise media scrums. all the govts excuses would look pathetic.

    A common Kiwi with $30m plus is certainly a dangerous anti establishment figure who can’t be deported as has happened in the past to those who had used their initiatives in the community.

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  16. petal (706 comments) says:

    Trev, I think the odds are always positive. It’s expressed as the chance of being the winner in a certain number. Therefore, if you have 1 chance of being the only person on the world to win, you’d have odds of 1:6.5B, which is still a number larger than zero, and therefore positive.

    Don’t even become Minister of Finance. Please :)

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  17. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Petal, I think Trev means “where is the point where your probable return is positive”. I.e. where for every $1 you spend you would expect to get more than $1 back. If you assume there is no chance of people sharing the prize, then the likely return does improve on bigger jackpots. Once you realise that with a bigger jackpot more people buy tickets (or the same people buy more tickets) then you’ll see that this dilutes the expected return. I’m not convinced that jackpots make that much difference at all to your likely result.

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  18. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Wonder what that tosser would say about the Australian Oz7 draw, wasn’t struck last night at 40M, so next week the jackpot is 50M..

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  19. Rebel Heart (249 comments) says:

    And while we are at it, why does the state have a monopoly in Lotto?

    Well I don’t see that idiot John Key and his National-led government doing anything about this.

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  20. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Sure it is a lot of money. It would set my family up for several generations until the decendants blew it all. However, with a goodly sized chunk of it I would start a foundation to provide scholarships for poor kids to go to decent private schools. That many millions would buy a lot of ongoing education.

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  21. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    Think of it less as an idiot tax and more as a fundraising raffle.

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  22. wikiriwhis business (3,996 comments) says:

    THe big q is why would govt want to restrict an avenue that helps fill its coffers?

    This is why prostitution was legalised and why marijuana will be in the future.

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  23. Nigel (514 comments) says:

    Interesting & here I was thinking Trev meant the following.

    Odds of a winner in Big Wednesday 1 in 32.3 million ( first division is 1 in 16,290,120 for each of heads/tails )

    Number of lines being sold this week is xxxx

    if xxxx > 32.3 million, odds are in favour of a winner, the problem of course is finding out how many lines have been sold, it’s not 100% accurate, but assuming division 2 last week was 320,000, which was 3.44% of the pool, total pool was roughly 9.4 million.

    So I figure we are a few weeks off the number of lines being sold is greater that 32.3 million.

    Interestingly the magic it must be paid out number for the pool is 30 million.

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  24. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Firstly, at odds of 15 million to 1 with a $26m jackpot isnt the odds positive? Ignoring the whole if 2 people win it. Nigel above has the proper maths, just heard those stats on the radio – cheers Nigel.

    Secondly lotto is as people said an idiots tax, or in my case an idirect way of giving money to generally sporting charties and the arts. The lotto commission does quite allot of good in its grants, having a monopoly over essentially the idiots tax (which includes me) is all fine and dandy.

    To put it another way, how successful have those pub slot machines been at being non corrupt…o yeah.

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  25. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    On the surface $30 million dollars is a lot to spend on the high life, but what if the winner has always wanted to start a world beating company? A new research centre, build a resort

    How many of our past winners have done this? I’d suggest few.

    And how many people with these future aspirations buy lotto tickets? Again, I’d suggest few.

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  26. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    why is 30 mil obscene?

    some of us would actually share the cash with our families.

    a stinkin million isnt exactly life changing.. might make things more comfortable but thats about it

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  27. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Confession time: I have NEVER purchased a lotto ticket. Every dollar spent gambling is a dollar wasted IMO, and too many of those that do the wasting reach for a lotto ticket with one hand, and for welfare with their other.

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  28. Lance (2,654 comments) says:

    getstaffed…

    Are you passing judgement on someones motivation?
    I suggest it’s none of your damn business

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  29. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    $30 million is an obscene amount of money for the wrong person. But what if it went to the right person? Those who say that this jackpot is too large are spouting generalisations. There are those who cannot and will not deal with the shock of winning such a large amount of dosh, and lets get this straight, it would be a shock.

    There are those who, on being the recipient of that amount of money, will self destruct as they cannot deal with the change such an event will bring to their lives, but those people would have the same reaction if the jackpot was only 3 million.

    BTW getstaffed, the money raised by the lotteries is disbursed to many community organisations that would otherwise struggle. If you have a problem with gambling, might I suggest you channel that energy against the pokies, which IMHO are the most insidious evil when it comes to gambling.

    Oh yeah, if my numbers come up, my shout at the backbencher!!!!

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  30. Karen Jones (2 comments) says:

    To answer Nigel above, NZ Lotteries sold 1.98 million tickets last week. Sales this week are already trending considerably above last week’s sales, therefore we consider the jackpot is very likely to be won tonight.

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  31. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Oh yeah, if my numbers come up, my shout at the backbencher!!!!

    You are on.

    There are those who, on being the recipient of that amount of money, will self destruct as they cannot deal with the change such an event will bring to their lives, but those people would have the same reaction if the jackpot was only 3 million.

    I know people who won 1.3 m about ten years ago. They had no idea and blew the lot on cars and fast living for a few years. They have less now than they started with. They rent.

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  32. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    getstaffed… Are you passing judgement on someones motivation?
    I suggest it’s none of your damn business

    Where was I passing ‘judgement’ as you call it? I regard lotto as a waste of money. That is opinion, not judgment.

    You might feel it’s fine for welfare to be spent on lotto. I don’t. That too is opinion, not judgment.

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  33. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Brian.

    Thanks for illustrating my point. 10 years ago 1.3 mill would have set me and probably many others up for life had they been the recipient. Money will destroy some people, as they just cannot handle it.

    BTW, the shout will be capped after consultation with the Mrs!

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  34. Lance (2,654 comments) says:

    getstaffed
    My point is bringing more and more and more and more rules and laws into our society is a negative influence on the prosperity of NZ as a whole. Making value judgements on what someone should or shouldn’t do is socialist methodology that stifles a country, it’s peoples creativeness and it’s economy.
    Governments are piss poor at picking the winners, the movers and the shakers so to speak. So to limit the lotto because the winner will just waste it or it is too much for them is shockingly arrogant.

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  35. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Trevor I understand the mathmatical odds on todays draw are 1 in 38 million Im waiting until it gets to the $30m when it has to be distributed.

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  36. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Lance – You don’t beat socialism with libertarianism. You beat it by helping people overcome dependence on the state for their existence. I maintain that too many people are not free, not because of excessive rules and regulations, but ironically because their free choice (lotto, pokies, ciggies etc) place them in a position where their basic needs (food, warmth ie Maslow’s top level) have to be supplied by the state.

    To be clear, I have no problem with people buying lotto, playing pokies etc with their own money. I have a big problem when it’s done with mine and they come back for more.

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  37. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    getstaffed – I am of the opinion that if people use their free choice to by lotto, cigs and play pokies in preference to Maslow’s top level needs, then they should starve, freeze and get rained upon. There has to be a point where you stop trying to protect people from their own self-destructuve stupidity.

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  38. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    @brian that might be your opinion but in a welfare state that’s not the outcome. Particularly not for the way too numerous offspring of the welfare-dependent.

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  39. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Kiwigreg – I know it is not the outcome, but like winning lotto – I sometimes wish it were true.

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  40. workingman (79 comments) says:

    I agree to an extent with Cactus Kate that the lotto is an idiot tax, but at least it is a voluntary tax.

    Maybe we should make income tax partly a lottery. Imagine a lottery only income tax payers could enter. That might get some people into work.

    I see from some of the comments that again people are against the idea of competition. Intralot in Australia may not have been a big success, but just because they fall short of their targets does not mean the ‘state has lost revenue’ as Billyborker states. From what I can find Tatts is doing well, so maybe money is going there rather than Intralot. If people do not spend on a lottery then they will spend else where, and that company will then pay tax on its profit. That is the great thing about competition. If people really feel it would be better to have a lottery that paid 28 $1m dollar prizes rather than possibly 1 $28m prize, then why not have 2 lotteries that work in different ways, let us see which is the more popular. Rather than a lottery that pays to ‘Good causes’ you would get specialised lotteries, that back charity, or sports, or arts.

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  41. Brian Marshall (202 comments) says:

    I just hope that whoever wins it, isn’t one of those “poor person on the bones of their arse that deserves win that ends up on the front page of the paper” cases.

    People that are struggling like the lucky bugger in the US just recently, should not be buying lottery tickets when they have other pressing bills. They need to seek budgetary advise not lucky number psychic advice…

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  42. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty: the missus used to buy lotto tickets. I of course used to complain that it was a gross waste of money. We resolved this impasse eventually – she suggested that I had a choice:
    – I could share in the prize if she won, but if so, I had to stop complaining
    – I could keep complaining, but if she wins I get nothing.

    I kept complaining. I can do maths, she’ll never win, so this is a simple utilitarian calculation. The certain pleasure I get every week from complaining about the ticket purchase is way greater than the pleasure of my share of the winnings times the likelihood of her ever winning.

    Actually, after a while of this, she stopped buying them, which was a double win!!

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  43. lofty (1,310 comments) says:

    The bottom line is, it is what it is, and you have to be in to win!

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  44. ISeeRed (236 comments) says:

    $30 million is obscene? The government spends that amount in less than five hours. It’s like the big stink in the US about executive pay. People are totally missing the big picture.

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  45. lilman (958 comments) says:

    Bloody losers,its mine ,all mine!!!!!!!!!!

    And besides its more family friendly than a bloody paper-run.

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  46. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    “Actually, after a while of this, she stopped buying them, which was a double win!!”

    Actually it is a push.

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  47. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    There is no such thing as too much money.

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