The question "Are people who win the lottery more likely to go bankrupt?" has already received 14 upvotes.

I think this not a good question.

It begins with:

It's been suggested that people who win the lottery are more likely to go bankrupt than if they had not.

Which is a notable enough claim, but then backs the claim up with a link to an article that references a study.

More than 1,900 [lottery] winners went bankrupt within five years. That number implies that 1% of Florida lottery players (winners and losers) go bankrupt in any given year, about double the rate for the broader population during the study period.

Considering this is the largest study I could find and the maths in the quote above speak for themselves, isn't it as easy as this:

Q: "Are people who win the lottery more likely to go bankrupt?" A: "Yes, based on the study of 35,000 people who won they went bankrupt at double the rate of the broader population."

If that's the case the question should be rewritten like a Jeopardy question. The question contains the answer.

However the OP is trying to make some point about the conclusions that the researches made based on the data. Which is off topic. The site is not about debating conclusions, its about providing factual answers.

There are then 3 questions provided:

  1. Are people who win lotteries are more likely to go bankrupt than the average population?

  2. Are people more likely to go bankrupt as a result of winning the lottery?

  3. Or are people who play the lottery, and therefore more likely to win, simply predisposed to financial decisions that would lead to bankruptcy?

Question 1 and 2 are the same question unless you want a comparison of non-winners vs. people that don't play for which there is no data available

Question 3 is off topic (a discussion on gambling psychology)

The top voted answer links to research by the same researches which quotes the same data and is voted higher than my answer which points out the freakin' obvious, the OP answered his own question. Which is OK if it were a Jeopardy question, but it's not.

I don't have a problem with the question title, but the real question the OP is interested in is one of psychology. If this is correct then it should be closed, if not it should be tidied up to remove any claim to the psychology and the answer shouldn't be contained in the question text.

  • Don't take upvotes too seriously. It's not hard to get a bunch of buddies to upvote your question or answer when you have an agenda to advance. We have examples of unsourced answers based on original research or even mere speculations with 25+ upvotes.
    – user288
    Oct 21, 2011 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


I think the questions asked are common conclusions that could be drawn from the study. The questions are answerable at least through data and studies that could be made by them. There is always the option to refute the original study thus rendering the 3 concluding questions moot.

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