Yesterday, Zac Bissonnette, author of Debt-Free U and a prominent personal finance expert, launched a Twitter tirade on a highly dubious video that hit the web yesterday.
The CNN Money video featured Richard Lustig, a self-published author in Florida who’s won the lottery several times.
After the video aired, his $34.50 book—Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning The Lottery—shot up to #2,073 on Amazon.
Here, Bissonnette debunks Lustig’s advice and gives his not-so-gentle take on why CNN flubbed this one big time.
First, Lustig says to “set a lottery budget,” dividing your monthly household spending by 10. He also recommends buying 10 tickets of the same game at a time since “almost every single time you’ll find a winning ticket in there.”
Bissonnette’s take: “The budget should be zero. The lottery works randomly. Unlike poker or blackjack, there’s nothing you can do to gain an advantage at this. You can’t make decisions to influence the outcome.” It’s just like roulette—there’s no game of skill.
Next, Lustig tells viewers to skip the “Quick Pick” or randomised numbers to better their odds.
Per Bissonnette: “I hesitate to even say this, but if you do buy lottery tickets, picking random numbers is the way to do it. Using random numbers you pick means you’re more likely to pick numbers someone else has, and then you’ll be more likely to split.”
Bissonnette describes the video as an epic fail for a credible and highly respected news site.
“The best thing you can say about this video is that people are flushing $40 away on the book,” he says. “But it’s dangerous—(the video) encouraged a lot of people to buy the book and spend money on lottery tickets that they shouldn’t buy.”
When tapped to comment, a CNN spokesperson emailed this response: “The CNNMoney newsroom takes great pride in its journalism, with consistently high standards for reporting. This video fell short of that mark and we’ve chosen to remove it from our site.”
You can watch Lustig work his magic on the Rachael Ray show below, and stay tuned as we work to get the original CNN Money video up on BI:
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