But regardless of the knocks on the lottery, as the saying goes, "some lucky dog's going to win it."
For the millions of people who bought tickets and didn't win, it wasn't a total loss. People don't play the lottery to win, really. They play it for excitement and hope.
By buying a lotto ticket, you're giving yourself license to dream about what you'd do with the money. Research has shown that this act of daydreaming actually releases similar brain chemicals (albeit in a much smaller does) to those that are released when you do win something. With a $2 purchase, you're paying for a feeling.
That feeling is the draw. People go back to the convenience store for a dose of the sensation that they could be big winners. It's cheaper than buying a $6 beer and a number of more expensive and illegal options.
Also, better than the morning coffee I'm guaranteed to lose $3 on.