I was in Lusaka recently, and I went to a mall and as I walked along the pavements I went past a small stall for a lottery game manned by a beautiful young lady who offered me a quick try to stand a chance to win a whopping US$70 000 for the cost of just one dollar.
Report by Adolf Chirimuta
I must issue a disclaimer and admit that I was a bit bored on the day and decided to give the game of chance a try, purely for its entertainment value and nothing more because I have studied the numbers and I know what they mean.
As I talked to the young lady, she asked me if I thought I would win, a question which took me quite a while to answer.
First I explained to her that I do not believe in luck, especially when it comes to money and all things associated with it.
Earlier on she had given me the numbers and I thought it appropriate to return the favour by giving her a few numbers of my own, so I immediately took out my calculator — being a penny pincher I always carry one with me — and started to work out the probability of me winning the grand prize. I am not an expert in applied probability but thank heavens I paid attention the day my A’level mathematics teacher taught permutations and combinations in the probability and statistics class.
So the probability of winning the lottery is the same as running into a particular person, chosen in advance, while walking the streets of Lusaka. In Hollywood they say pictures don’t lie and where I come from, we believe numbers don’t lie. Certainly, some people win millions in the lottery.
It’s just very likely that it’s not going to be you. If you dream of becoming a millionaire or being wealthy in any way, gambling is not the way, you are better off investing your one dollar in a newspaper and catching up with current affairs than betting on the odds of getting a 100 000% return at a millionth of a chance.
I believe everything should be done in moderation and playing games of chance, such as the lottery is one habit that should be kept well at bay and should only be attempted for its entertainment value as it may lead to bankruptcy and delinquency.
Some theorists argue that lotteries facilitate a higher degree of inequality than a society should have to maximise its progress by giving the masses false hope, which reduces pressure on political leaders to remedy the inequality. Rather than traditional religion, the pursuit of imaginary future wealth, via lottery play, is seen as an opium of the people. Marx spoke of it, but that’s a story for another day.
“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.” — Karl Max