lottery mentality
n. The desire to obtain money without working for it; the belief that a large sum of money can solve a person's problems.
Many years ago, my late mother believed that one of the biggest reasons Mexico was in sad financial shape was that country's long-running national lottery. She said, 'People in Mexico believe the only way they can get ahead is to win the lottery, so instead of working hard, they buy lottery tickets.'…The American dream, of working hard and getting ahead, is starting to succumb to that same lottery mentality my mother saw hurting Mexico's economy.
—Robin Miller, “The lottery mentality,” The Baltimore Sun, October 17, 1995
Recent instances of enormous jury awards have served as a forceful reminder that a lottery mentality is pervading our society.
—Richard Cordray, “Jury Awards Dismay Many, But Reform's Difficult,” The Columbus Dispatch, October 15, 1995
1985 (earliest)
Oaklawn Park, one of the last holdouts against exotic wagering, has crumbled in the face of pick-six fever and will add the bet at its meeting next spring. Charles Cella, the track's president, says he finds the bet ''slightly less odious'' than other exotics, such as the exacta and trifecta, though he laments that it reflects what he calls a ''nationwide lottery mentality.''
—Steven Crist, “Horse racing,” The New York Times, September 26, 1985
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