MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: It doesn’t add up

I’ve been known to buy a lottery ticket or two but being cheap helps me keep any huge outlay in check

I’m not a problem gambler or anything like that. Just wait that sounds like a Rob Ford-type answer to a question from the media, or his council, or his…

But I’m not here to pick on the beleaguered Toronto mayor, gosh knows there’s enough of that going on, although I’m here to discuss a vice of one kind or another and the fairness of it all.

So here goes my beef.

Yes, I’ve been known  to buy a lottery ticket or two but being cheap helps me keep any huge outlay in check.

But you know the saying, if you don’t buy a ticket you don’t get to dream.

And then a guy in Revelstoke wins the big one and you think, even though the odds are astronomical, it could happen, right?

Plus it’s not like I want one of those huge wins, a nice cool million would be perfect.

So, my usual weekly routine is go for a walk before Wednesday and Saturday and purchase a double dip ticket which is good for the Lotto 6/49 and BC/49, plus the Extra, and all for 10 bucks.

You don’t have to think, or fill out any forms, and it covers off two of the big three lotteries. Occasionally I’ll get drawn into the Lotto Max draw Friday night if it gets big enough, even though I just said I don’t want to win a big one necessarily, so that just shows how flawed my logic is when it comes to lotteries.

For the most part I stopped buying scratch tickets, due to the heavy loss quotient, but I might cough up four bucks for a Set for Life if I’ve had a bad week at work or there’s a couple toonies burning a hole in my pocket.

So, if my math is right I’m usually spending $20 a week on my lottery habit, with a little blip for scratches and Lotto Max occasionally, so say $22.50 a week on average.

That’s maybe 100 bucks a month or $1,170 a year, which. although that sounds like way more when you use the calculator to add it up (and hey I could use a thousand bucks more a year so what the hell am I thinking?), the odd win of a dollar or $10, not to mention the dreaming of the big one, keeps you in the game.

But, here comes my beef.

The price went up recently, and I understand prices go up but other things have to be taken into consideration too. Like how much you win.

You see a double dip went up to $13, a significant increase in my book and it means I have to do even more math to see if my habit is more of a problem than I thought.

But, so far, of course, I’ve been coughing up the extra cash, even though $13 isn’t exactly one of your easier cash transactions.

This week, however, I won 10 bucks and it got me thinking.

Prior to the price hike that meant I got a free ticket and I happily kept my own money in my pocket, grateful for the free pass.

Now, with the price increase, I have to hand over three bucks plus my “winning” ticket to stay in the game. That doesn’t feel like a ‘win’ at all.

Shouldn’t the new ‘win’ be $13 to at least cover the new price of the ticket?

Now, I know I have the option of walking away with my $10 and declaring victory, but even I know that’s actually a loss. And you could say that about the loonie win too but that’s just an amusing aside.

Of course I know 13 is an unlucky number but they don’t have to rub it in.

And a lottery official might tell me my odds are better for other prizes at the increased price (I don’t actually research this stuff you know) but that’s missing the point anyway.

Oh well, of course I don’t have to play.

Or maybe I’ll start buying Set for Lifes again. Although I hear they went up a buck in price too. Does that now mean if you win a free ticket you have to cough up an extra buck?


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