Lottery Winning Angst


www.hrcu.org.uk
http://www.hrcu.org.uk

Like many people, millions in fact, I am a regular lottery player. A couple of times a week I plunk down a few bucks for a chance to cash-in big. Nothing ridiculous, not a whole paycheck, just a bit of a flutter if you will. As they say, if you play the lotto your chances of winning are ridiculously slim, but if you don’t play your chances are nil.

In my worst nightmares I arrive at the lottery office on Tuesday morning in a state of sleep deprived lunacy

Here in Canada our 6/49 jackpots accumulate but never quite reach the astronomical amounts seen in some Power Ball draws in the US. But another, perhaps more important, difference is that whatever you win here, the whole shebang or any part thereof, there is no negotiating a lump sum or payments over time. You get what you win, and in Canada lottery winnings, like casino pay-outs are tax-free. That’s right, if you win $7.5 million you get a cheque for that amount. You will only be taxed on the subsequent interest.

If a group of people pool their money to buy a bunch of tickets and, lo and behold, win, before they collect they fill out a form indicating each person’s share to avoid taxation. If one person claimed the prize then divvied it up among the others, the recipients would be taxed – the tax-free aspect only applies to the original winnings.

Lotto_2I’ve never won anything worth bragging about, so I know I must be due. Fully believing I’m probably on the cusp of a big haul my ever fertile mind has developed a new anxiety. Let’s say I win a chunk of money on the Wednesday night draw. In defiance of most lawyers’ advice I’d be down at the lottery office with my face pressed up against the glass to claim my prize when the door opened on Thursday morning – no problem. The panic sets in when I think of winning on a Saturday night draw. That would mean waiting until the office opened on Monday morning to claim my fortune – God forbid it should be a long weekend!

… when they pry my fingers from the vise-like grip on the ticket they release a wad of crumpled paper from which all ink has long vanished into the pores of my hand

If I did win on a long weekend, say Labor Day, I’d find out on the Sunday morning when i got up and would have to sweat it out until Tuesday morning! Where would I put the ticket for forty-eight agonizingly long hours? It has now gone from being just a piece of paper to being worth millions of dollars; I can’t merely put it in my wallet, what if I was mugged?  In my worst nightmares I arrive at the lottery office on Tuesday morning in a state of sleep deprived lunacy and, when they pry my fingers from the vise-like grip on the ticket they release a wad of crumpled paper from which all ink has long vanished into the pores of my hand. All that remains of my dreams is a ball of papier-mâché created out of my winning ticket and my  sweat and tears.

So lottery gods if you do ever decide to shine down upon me, pease let me find out on a Thursday morning.

 

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