Dear Editor,

Some time after a good run of the new format of the Lotto-Super 6, the numbers were reduced to 1-28 from 1-36. A customer wrote a letter stating that someone who understands the arrangement and magic of numbers – I think he mentioned Mr Christopher Ram‘s name – should give an explanation as to how on earth with fewer numbers to select from it has become much more difficult to win even a consolation where one has 3 numbers correct, while the cost of a ticket has doubled. What this individual who was both baffled and upset was expressing was exactly the same feeling that endless chance players had about this new format, where even winning a free ticket seemed a million to one chance. One man said to me that with the amount of money he had spent on lotto, he felt he had a better chance with the three-card man. Well, when people start to feel that they have more chances of winning with ‘3 card‘, which is illegal, then you have to wonder. It is good for those who win big time, and which company is not glad to show this off as an enticement, which is small potatoes. This is not a guessing game; it‘s well programmed. Somewhere down the line, at some point in time there is a million, 10, 20, 30, 40 million, a pot of gold waiting for someone, and that is the ideal, the dream, which lures the poor with the hope that maybe, just maybe on that same day s/he might be the holder of a ticket to change life around completely. But you can’t beat the odds; as I mentioned, it’s so well programmed.

And yes, even so we do keep playing, reaching for the sky. I was so amused lately when I purchased a scratch and got four match-ups – four wins – on that card but won only a measly $800; $200 for each win! Talk about Al Capone; compared to the lotto he’s a gentleman. Which reminds me of “Pull the string” as a little boy at fairs, where the strings for the radio, clock, pyrex bowl and pressure cooker are never pulled. Sometimes we even would ask them to show us the strings attached to these items just to make sure, and they did. But then the strings were cut short at the top, and were never among those we were selecting from.

I can imagine the voices of condemnation from the pure at heart: “Don’t waste your money on a game of chance.“ Good advice, but easier said than done; poor people do take chances. If my memory serves me well, I think that it was elder brother Eusi Kwayana who in making reference to the use of the Lotto Fund stated that it was the money of the poor. And who can deny that. The rich play for the sake of playing and obviously hope to win also, but the money they risk is affordable – I think they call it disposable income, which the poor never have.

On the other hand, the poor risk more, since they would often stake from the little they have, even their last dollar, and hope and pray to all the gods that their luck springs forth. Based on common sense, logic, the odds and the daily disappointments we can condemn such chances as foolish, but still that’s what many do daily, acts of desperation that oftentimes sink them deeper into their impecunious state. But they damn their lot and take risks hoping for a miracle, and that’s life!

There was this brother who said to me: “Buddy, is either lotto or coke because is like I forever broke, but I gon try with the lotto, ah too old fuh tek lock-up now.“ Elusive as wining is, try telling people not to play; there is this genuine hope that burns within, and for as long as it is around people will play until they have totally lost every ounce of faith and cease to dream. And make no mistake, there are some who by their religion are condemned if they play but still feel the need to take a chance.

Editor, there is a very annoying situation in Linden with respect to the purchasing of lotto and scratch. As far as I know there are only two machines in Linden, both on the Mackenzie shore, just about 300 yards apart. One is at Richard’s Cheap Corner store and the other at Joe Barns Electrical store. Would you believe that one has to wait for five minutes for one ticket? Yes Siree, if someone is buying four/five tickets in front of you the waiting sends you nuts, not to mention having ten persons to wait on. At Joe Barns sometimes it’s a bit quicker, but at Richard’s it‘s terrible.

They tell customers that the machine does the processing very slowly; sometimes it breaks down completely. If one is lucky to win on scratch, it‘s no different; you stand there at Richard’s for five-ten minutes to collect your $500 or another ticket as you please. This is totally unacceptable when poor folks have to endure all sorts of poppycock staking their last dollar on taking a chance.

Yours faithfully,
Frank Fyffe

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