The National Lottery is an impossible dream. However, the fact of the matter is that despite the odds of winning the jackpot (has been up to £40million in the UK) are approximately 14 million to one and as such one is more likely to die in a car/aeroplane/Yacht/dingy/bowl of soup/forest fire/jar of peanut butter etc etc that I cannot help but play the damn thing twice a week without fail.

I consider myself an educated man and the fact that I scored 93% on my statistics paper at university should really make me think twice before lifting up that biro on a piece of string in my local newsagents and furiously scribbling my secret special numbers that will hopefully bring me my fortune.

But no, I will play the bastard thing until the day i die for the simple reason that I cannot stand the idea that the numbers that may as well be tatooed on my forehead along with the word 'IDIOT' may just roll in one sunny day.

If it gets past 7.30pm on a Wednesday or Saturday (This is the cut off time to play in the UK) and I realise I've forgotten to buy my tickets then I undergo a feeling presumably akin to the feeling one goes through when hearing the 4 minute warning, which only subsides an hour later when the numbers are announced and my numbers inevitably haven't rolled in.

I calculate that if i'm lucky enough to live until I'm 80 years old then I'm destined to have spent at least £7000 on this horrible affliction.

'It could be you' - YEH RIGHT!!!

Mind you, having said all that, the guy I lived next door to at university won £2million on the goddamn thing 2 weeks after his 22nd birthday but that's a different node. (see, my mate's mate won the lottery when I write it).

The money raised by this lottery has actually been divided out into several funds. There is one for Sport which is apparantly why Britain won so many medals at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Oh! of course it is!. There is one for the arts which is spent mainly on big Opera house extensions which a minority of people will go to. When it could have been spent on hundreds of smaller theatres. But the really interesting fund is that for millennium projects. This has been spent on parties with £100,000's of Fireworks and on several high profile buildings such as the millennium dome, the millennium bridge, the museum of pop in Sheffield, and the Earth Centre near Rotherham. Every one of these projects has been a disaster. The bridge still wobbles, is shut and will cost £5 million to fix. The dome has drawn 6 million visitors, but many did not pay the full price and 12 million visitors were projected to go. Every person who paid £20 to go in has been subsidised another £60. Both of the museums have made a loss and are likely to close.

The best description I have ever heard of the National Lottery is 'A tax on the numerically incompetent'.

Anyone who is willing to spend money on a chance that they could win a vast pot of cash at those odds needs to have their head read. Common statistics bounced around about the lottery run along the lines of :-

-After buying a ticket, you are more likely to die in the hour before the draw than you are to win the jackpot

-You are more likely to get struck by lightning twice than you are to win the jackpot

- You have more chance of picking the 'lucky' coin out of a line of 10 pence pieces laid side by side ... that was two miles long.

I'm sure if you pointed these fact out to people then they may reconsider wasting their money, but I suppose if it makes you happy .......

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