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How Some Families Are Winning the Lottery Without Ever Playing

By Katie Allison Granju |

I am the first to admit that I find the whole concept of playing any sort of lottery pretty confusing. When I approach the counter at my local minimart and see all of the various scratch off cards and ticket machines,  I am completely baffled. And I am always afraid that the harried checkout lady – not to mention the customers in line behind me – would be totally irritated if I asked her to stop and explain how it all works to me. So I’ve never played, meaning I’ve never been a winner.

However, here in Tennessee, where I live, my kids will be lottery winners whether or not I ever figure out how to buy a ticket. That’s because our state utilizes state lottery profits to fund the HOPE Scholarship Program, which  pays pretty much the entire cost of tuition (just tuition – not books or housing) for eligible Tennessee students who want to attend any of our state colleges or universities.

The HOPE Scholarship Program has had its hiccups along the way, and there continue to be critics of the idea of having a state lottery at all, but in the past few years, I’ve loved seeing and reading media coverage of all the Tennessee kids who have been able to go to college on the HOPE Scholarship; in many cases, these lottery scholarship recipients are the first members of their family to take their education past high school.  That’s pretty cool.

What about you? Do you play the lottery? Why and how often? Have you ever won anything? And what do you think about lottery money helping to pay for kids to go to college?  (And also, can anyone explain to me how to actually play the lottery? Because I really don’t want to bother the cranky looking minimart checkout lady with my pesky questions.)

Follow Katie on Twitter or Facebook, or visit her personal blog.

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About Katie Allison Granju


Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “How Some Families Are Winning the Lottery Without Ever Playing

  1. [...] which I admit that I have no idea how to purchase a lottery ticket. Share and [...]

  2. Claire R says:

    I, too, get anxious at the thought of having to purchase a ticket. It’s all too overwhelming-too many choices, too many kinds, I just don’t do it. Bu living in Tennessee and watching kids benefit from it makes me happy it’s out there. I just know I would lose my shirt if I started playing.

  3. diana says:

    just ask for a lottery ticket! if you want to get clever, you can request certain numbers, but if you just ask for a ticket they will give you random numbers. i usually do powerball or megamillions. and yes, we have totally planned out what we will “do” when we win, doesn’t everyone?

  4. Susan says:

    I am embarrassed to admit that I have no idea how to play the lottery, either. People tell me it’s simple, even a child could do it, but the numbers and the circles just send me into a tizzy.

    I give people money and have them buy them for me.

  5. Clisby says:

    Diana is right – just tell them what game you want to play, and ask for a ticket. Surely your state lottery has a website that explains the games. I just play powerball – if Tennessee is in the powerball group, just hand over $1 and say, “I want a powerball ticket.” If you want a scratch-off ticket, look at what they have, hand over $X and say, “One ____, please.”

    As far as paying for college? The lottery is a voluntary contribution by the poor, to pay for college for the middle class. If poor people figured this out, maybe they’d stop and switch to illegal numbers games or something. As long as nobody’s making them play – fine by me.

  6. Jenny says:

    You don’t want a scratch-off. You might win another ticket, or $5 or something. My sister plays those for fun on her birthday and Christmas. If you ever want to play, just get a Powerball or that other big one. Might as well make it interesting, I say. I don’t play, but if I did, I would play for the big money. The odds don’t really concern me, because I always believe I can win something (best that I don’t play, right?).

  7. Jillian says:

    I don’t play the lottery for the same reason. Sometimes scratch offs, but I never seem to win. A very nice lady that I work with has everyone in the office chip in and buys tickets for everyone when the megamillions payout gets big. I usually contribute to that out of fear of everyone else winning, and I’ll be the only one still stuck at work. Really, though, the whole thing just gives me anxiety- I don’t think I want that kind of money and the problems and guilt and stress that are sure to come with it. It’s good to want things…

  8. Heather F. says:

    Jillian, you made me laugh: “I usually contribute to that out of fear of everyone else winning, and I’ll be the only one still stuck at work.” That would make a great movie!

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