I work at a local grocery store and there are people who come into the store and buy 70 dollars worth of lottery and they come back the next day and "win" $20. See the Lottery uses the word "Win" when your ticket wins, but really your usually losing 3-4 dollars every time. Now im not saying you can sometimes win and make lots of money off of the lottery but its very unlikely.
The lottery is a easy way for states to make money. The amount paid out to winners is no where near the amount spent on the lottery. Some states, such as Illinois, have actually failed to pay out winners and are in the process of being sued. While the money generated can go to great causes such as education, those playing the lottery are being scammed.
It isn't a scam, just another form of gambling. You are risking your own money against bad odds in hope of winning money. In my opinion it is the best form of gambling. Here is why:
Firstly the money goes to good causes. I assume profit is made and expenses are paid for. But other funds go to funding the GB Olympic team, funding the British Film Institute and funding various charity projects.
Secondly never will you win more by risking less. If you go to a Casino to win big on poker or blackjack you have to gamble big. But £2 for a ticket with the possibility of winning £165 million in the euromillions jackpot. Bargain.
And finally as the draw is only twice a week its not like you are constantly chasing the high of knowing whether you have won. If you lose in roulette online you can play again the next second and then again and then again etc etc. However the lottery doesn't fit that typical gambling addiction cycle.
Much of the reason as to why I believe the lottery isn't a scam, is partly due to the consistent number of lottery winners in recent times. What makes it appear so difficult to win is the number of people vying for a particular payout. It's pretty much down to luck, in my opinion. The number of 'losers' far outweighs the number of winners (which isn't surprising when you think about it). This drives certain conspiracy theorists to reach at certain conclusions which aren't necessarily fair.
I don't think the lottery is a scam because people do win and get rich overnight. I'm sure that the corporations that run lotteries are getting far, far richer than the average citizen, but I don't think it's fair to say that the lottery system is a scam. It's all about luck, really.
The lottery, to my knowledge, was established to assist with funding education. This was the promise behind the initial setup, anyway. Of course, I do not necessarily see the funds going to education, however, it does not mean that the lottery is not funding another source, such as infrastructure. Additional research should always be conducted whenever something of a large scale is being called a scam.