A couple in my extended family decided to leave Canada’s cold a little over a decade ago and headed off to the island of Roatan, the largest Bay Island of the Honduras. I’ll call them Bob and Jill. The two of them regularly see a mix of wealthy foreigners and very poor locals. Recently, lotteries hit the island in a big way. The results are tragically predictable.
Tickets for the twice-daily draws sell for somewhere close to 25 Canadian cents each. Bob and Jill do a lot of volunteer work with the locals providing some jobs and helping children with education both by financing it and tutoring them. The excitement among the poorest locals over the lottery looks very similar to our experience.
Bob and Jill try to explain that it is a waste of money, but the typical reaction from lottery players is “but I’m going to win so much money.” It is only the locals who are better off financially who seem able to see the new lotteries for what they are: a big waste of money.
It seems that even in a country that is very poor by our standards, the poorest of the poor find some spare money to waste on lottery tickets.