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"Florida Lotto Fever"
Letter from the Editor
By: Brian Faso

Florida lotto"Is playing the Florida lotto really gambling? Isn't playing the Florida lotto a 'get rich quick' form of investing just like playing the stock market? Even if I lose, doesn't the money I put into the Florida lotto go towards schools and education? I don't see the problem with putting a couple bucks a day towards winning the big one."

Over the past year it seems as if the lotto craze and lotto jackpots have been increasing around the country. The sad thing is that most of the people who play the lottery do not realize that they are wasting their time and money. The really sad thing is that most of the individuals who play the lottery are the individuals who cannot afford to be playing the lottery. God has blessed every person who has extra money to put towards the lottery and we are called to be good stewards of what we have been blessed with. We are going to be accountable for all of our blessings including our finances. If we truly have faith and trust in the Lord, we know that the Lord will provide for all of our needs if we follow His plan for our lives.

Today, people are playing to get rich because they believe that money will make them happy. We all have seen that is far from the truth. I suppose they have never taken a good look at all of those wealthy Hollywood celebrities; if money makes you happy, then every rich celebrity must be happy, RIGHT? God tells us to be happy in the Lord. Be happy just knowing the fact that you are one of God's children and you will live a happy life. " The blessings of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow to it." (Proverbs 10:22). Luke's Gospel also tells us to be careful not to get caught up in the worldly desires," No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13).

In most people's lifetime well over a million dollars will pass through their hands. God is going to ask you how you used it. Were you a good steward with all you have been blessed with? Many gamblers and lotto players tend to be stressed financially. The reason they are not financially stable is because the usually make poor choices when spending the money they have (ex. buying lotto tickets every day when they never win). Statistics have even show that most people who win the Florida lotto usually spend all the winnings and are broke again in a short span of time. Again, showing that the reason they are not rich is not because they don't have money, but because they are not good stewards of the money they have and spend it foolishly. "It is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy" (1 Corinthians 4:2). God wants to trust us with an abundance of finances, but we first must be accountable for what we have presently been blessed with.

In playing the Florida lotto, even when I lose I am at least putting money towards education in my state. That is good, right?

The truth is that in many states, including Florida, no less than 1% and no more than 3% of the dollars spent on tickets go towards education. That is a bad return on your dollars spent towards education.

When more people play the Florida lotto the jackpot increases and your chances of winning decreases dramatically. When more people play the Florida lotto and nobody wins, the jackpot will increase at a more rapid rate. As the jackpot gets greater, so does the number of players; when the number of players increase your chances of winning the bigger jackpot get smaller. That is not fair! It is said that you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, TWICE, than winning a big Florida lotto jackpot. That is what I call foolish spending. You would have better odds betting $1.00 a day, every day, that you will get struck by lightning than to bet a dollar a day that you will pick the right lottery numbers.

In short, playing the lotto is a waste of money. It is like throwing a dollar, or two or three, out the window each day because you know the chances of you winning are so minute. If you know this fact and still continue to play, you are not being a good steward of what God has blessed you with. If you are not good with little, you should not be blessed with much. When reading the Book of Matthew, we read the Parable of the Talents where three servants had been blessed with talents. Each one used the talents differently over the period of time. Two of the servants returned to the their lord with more talents than they had been given to start. Their lord took the talents back and said, "Well done, my good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." The third servant returned to his lord, not losing his talents by playing the lotto, but with the same amount of talents as he was given. His lord responded with, " You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I do not sow, and gather where I have not scattered seed... For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but for him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away (Matthew 25:16-30). We must be smart with all of our blessings, even our extra two or three dollars each day.

If you were to have placed all of your lost lotto money, the money you bet and did not win, into a more intelligent and profitable investment, what would you have today lying around as extra cash? When you do the math you will see that playing the lottery is in no way a form of investment; it is foolish spending. If you played only two dollars a day over the past two years you would have close to $1000.00 extra dollars today to spend or invest. Instead, some will continue playing the lotto hoping to hit it big someday as they scrape by paycheck to paycheck trying to figure out what is going on with their finances.

As you can see, this writer is convinced that gambling, betting and playing the Florida lotto are all a waste of hard earned money and prove us to be unfaithful stewards. God has blessed you with so much just by the fact that you are reading this off the Internet. Be grateful, be thankful and be a good steward.

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