Is Playing The Lottery Safer Than Betting On Sports Or Casino Games?
March 2, 2021
People have been playing the lottery and betting on sports and casino games for centuries.
In fact, the first evidence of lottery games dates back to the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 BC.
The lottery has long had a more communal and acceptable tone attached to it than sports betting or casino games, which could lead people to think it’s safer than those two types of gambling. But is this fair to say?
In an attempt to answer this question, we’ve made the case for and against the lottery being safer than betting on sports or casino games before drawing our conclusion.
What’s unsafe about playing cash games & betting for money?
Let’s not start under any illusions. When we talk about playing the lottery and placing bets on sports or casino games we’re referring to examples where you have to pay to play.
While there are obvious differences to these three things (lottery, sports and casino games) they’re all gambling activities. This means each of them comes with the same overarching risk that you get from a potentially addictive pursuit.
The lottery, sports betting and casino games can be unsafe. This is because winning gives you an adrenaline rush, one you might look to regain by making more bets/playing more games. The risk with this is that you spend more money than you have by chasing this rush.
Why the lottery is safer than sports betting & casino games
While there will always be an unsafe element to playing the lottery due to the addictive nature of gambling, there’s definitely an argument to be made for the lottery being safer than sports betting and casino games.
The argument for this is the lottery is based on luck and chance, meaning you have no control over the results.
For example, if you play one of the US Powerball lotteries (such as PlayHugeLottos) then the same numbers could come up every single time. Of course, this is unlikely to happen but it certainly could because there’s no form to the balls, as they’re selected at random.
This is in contrast to both casino games and sports betting.
Take poker, which is perhaps the most popular casino card game (cardrooms like PokerStars have millions of users). You play against real people who make real decisions. You can monitor what they do and make predictions over how they might act. This means you can get some control over the results.
Sports betting is similar because you can look at the form of teams or players and get a sense of how they may perform in future matches. While you can’t affect the result yourself, you can make informed decisions that give you a semblance of control when making bets.
So, the luck-based nature of the lottery and lack of control you can exert upon the results means you can argue that it’s safer than sports betting or casino games.
Why the lottery isn’t safer than sports betting & casino games
We said earlier that the lottery could be safer than sports betting and casino games because it’s based on chance. That’s a sensible argument.
However, you can flip that benefit on its head and use it as a reason for the lottery being less safe than those other two forms of gambling. Why? Because it could make it easier for you to get lost in the game and carried away with the bets you make.
Returning to poker and sports betting, it can certainly be said the more effort you put in the more you get out of them. And that if you study the games (whether that’s Texas Hold’ em or your preferred sports) then you could see better results.
For instance, you could check the odds of who will be the Premier League’s top scorer, then look at how the selected players have been faring, the games they have left to play and their injury history. You can use this information to make educated guesses at what might happen.
This isn’t the case for the lottery, where you don’t need to think about what you’re doing.
The danger of this is that you might not take it seriously and could overlook the risks of making frequent bets, with this taking you to a place where all of a sudden you find yourself in a pattern of addictive behaviour.
So, the simplicity and chance-based qualities of the lottery means it could be said to be less safe than sports betting and casino games.
Conclusion: any type of gambling is unsafe if done irresponsibly
We said we wouldn’t start under any illusions and we’ll end in the same way. Quite simply, all types of gambling are unsafe if you don’t bet responsibly.
While there’s fun to be had in the lottery, sports betting and casino games, you should always be aware of the risks involved (it’s why there are age restrictions on all of them) and must treat them with the respect this demands.
If you find yourself in a position where you or someone you know might be developing a gambling addiction then you should seek help. Millions of people struggle with addiction and there’s no shame in reaching out to get support — it’s the right thing to do.