Lotteries are not a Financial Service

Just a quick one that I noticed, it seems our friends at Red Flag Deals (I do like checking there to see if something I need to buy is on sale) have become a little confused.

This week they are offering OLG: FREE Watch ‘N Win Lotto eCoupon, OK, I guess folks that play lotteries like freebies as much as the next person (note I have not made that an active link, you can go find it on the Red Flag Deals web site yourself (I am not in any way espousing you go buy lottery tickets)).

Cash Cows the Album

My Favorite Cash Cow

What worries me about this coupon, is where this coupon was ca

  • Stuff you are never going to get your money back from
  • Tax on the poor
  • Home -> Not a Deal -> Lottery

Any of those is better than Financial Services -> Other !



Cash Advances and Lottery Tickets

Today I learned an interesting paradox that arises when you buy lottery tickets with a credit card. Luckily, I was not the lottery ticket purchaser, I saw this on a local TV news program, where a gentleman was very upset to find out that this was actually the case (i.e. if you buy lottery tickets, or services from the OLG, the Credit Card company treats it as a cash advance).

I thought this was a great idea as a deterrent to buying lottery tickets (or using the new OLG Gambling on-line program), but the credit card companies logic is also very sound. Think of it, I buy lottery tickets with money that I borrowed, but will promise to pay it back? No, the Credit Card Company wants you to have the cash right away, and the only way to do that is via a cash advance.

Lottery Losses

Your Odds on the Lottery
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

To quote the OLG web site directly:

It’s important to note that your credit card issuer may apply a cash advance fee when using credit cards on PlayOLG. To be sure, check with your credit card issuer. 

Please note:  Not all credit card institutions accept online gambling transactions.  If yours is rejected, please try a card issued by a major Canadian bank or INTERAC Online.

Evidently folks are not reading the suggestion to check with their Credit Card Companies as there are plenty of stories complaining about extra charges, and unnoticed cash advances.

Frankly, I am thinking good on the Credit Card Companies (for once), but that is very mean-spirited of me.

One more helpful thing from the OLG site on their “Where does all the money go” page:

2% of forecasted OLG slot revenue to problem gambling funding



A Guaranteed Lottery Pay Out

For those of you who are Watching the Million Dollar Neighbourhood on the OWN network, which stars our friend Preet Banerjee, you are missing an interesting bit of media spectacle. The show itself is pretty straight forward, and while Preet may seem quite stern with some of the families, my opinion is that he is actually holding back a fair amount (he certainly is more blunt in the conversations I have had with him (don’t get me wrong, I enjoy his candor, and actually wish he was more blunt on the show)).

Lottery Ticket from OLG

Not your Retirement Plan!

On the very first show of the series Preet had a great line, that I am pretty sure he wrote himself, which resonates with me very nicely. He was talking with a couple, where the husband is disabled, and is living on a fixed disability cheque, and the couple is having a hard time. In response to this hardship, the husband felt his only recourse was to buy lottery tickets (i.e. swinging for the financial fences).

Preet’s response was classic, and hopefully I have captured it accurately here, “If I could give you a lottery that has a guaranteed pay out of $2500 a year, would you take it?”. The husband responded that absolutely he would, and Preet’s response was classic:

“STOP BUYING LOTTERY TICKETS and you’ll have $2500 a year.”

I have ranted about Lottery Tickets and Casinos as a means of retiring early before, hence why I like the comment. Even living in Ottawa I am more likely to be bitten by a shark than I am to win on the Lottery, however remember The Shark Bite Story premise is what the Lotteries (aka the Government) is banking on you buying into , so you buy more lottery tickets.

Given yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday as well, and it is (I think I have heard) the most bet on event in the world (which is a sad statement), betting in general on sporting events is no better than Lottery Tickets (no matter how good a prognosticator you fancy yourself). As a basketball coach I have learned, sh*t happens and sometimes any team can win, that is why the game is played.

Oh, and the first person that says, at least the money from the lotteries go back into the community, gets a swift kick in the butt!


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