Dream House Raffle people never awarded anyone a house, CBS News reports

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/06/turns-out-the-dream-house-raff.html


Let’s see. For 10 million you could buy an average condo in SanFan or you could move somewhere else and live like a king in a fancy small mansion with a ton of cash leftover. Hard decision.


This is what happens to most of the big prizes on game shows like The Price is Right, as well. If you win a car, you’re responsible for the California taxes and registration costs on the car at the time of the award, i.e., immediately. So most winners take a cash prize instead.


This seems weird to me. Over here, in the UK, you pay tax on your wager rather than on your winnings. It means that the government makes a steady income, and winning big doesn’t trigger these huge costs. It seems to be another incidence of 'merica’s drive to punish the poor and generally just fuck over average people at every opportunity, no matter what the cost.


Lotteries: a tax on people who can’t do math.

In other news, you can’t get Money for Nothing unless you’re Dire Straits.


Not offering the advertised to prize untill a hidden sales threshold has been met seems deceptive to me. To my mind a raffle means all prizes will be awarded, unlike lotteries where the prize may varry with the number of tickets sold.


But, the chicks are free. :slight_smile:


So the TL:DR version here is…

Dream House contest winners never accept the house, take comparative cash prize instead.

Is this some perceived issue? Seems fine to me.


I guess the only real issue is that they’re still pretending you’re buying that $150 ticket to win a chance at a $10-million house instead of what seems to be a smaller cash prize. The house only comes into play if they sell a certain amount of tickets, which is unlikely to happen. The dodgy consultant who’s made millions off setting up these contests also make sure to also bury the threshold rules in the fine print while still prominently featuring the house as the main prize.

I also have to wonder how much of the $150 goes to the charity vs. the consultant and the actual costs of the prizes. And on that last point, I’m also curious about the house itself – who owns it and is donating it? I get the strong sense if some tech millionaire won and could afford all the fees and taxes, somehow he’d still never end up taking possession of the actual house.


Most people know the odds suck astronomically; it’s a cheap way to have happy daydreams each week as you grind your way through increasingly tough times.


Yeah…but it’s sort of like when I go put $10 on a couple Powerball tickets every so often. I know I am throwing that money away on the billion to one chance I win something…even if its just breaking even.

Its one thing to blame the con man, but eventually people have to take responsibility for willingly walking into the con.


Like most gambling, it’s only an issue if you’re spending more than you can afford. If I spend a couple of bucks on a lottery ticket instead of buying a drink, I probably come out ahead. If I’m buying lottery tickets instead of buying food, I have a problem.

I play the lottery. I think I last bought a ticket about five years ago; my odds don’t go down significantly in the years I don’t buy tickets.


Side note…“Dream House Raffle”…I feel like an opportunity is being missed here by some corporate sponsorship.


Of course; the odds are the same with each drawing.

It’s slightly different, because it’s clear what the prize is in the unlikely event you win Powerball – an exact cash amount based on clear rules. In this case, the charity contest is saying you can win a $10-million house when that’s probably not what you’ll win (you won’t win $10-million in cash, either, since the threshold is never reached).

tl;dr: if I’m going to throw away a few bucks on a daydream, I want to know what I’m gonna be dreaming about until the drawing happens (i.e until I lose). This is why I might put down $10 once in a while on Powerball, if I think of it, but why I wouldn’t put down $150 on a charity contest like this.

Late-stage capitalist America is all about making it as easy as possible to walk into the con. Every EULA, every corporate employment agreement, every corporate lease does that. The slimeball contest consultant is another parasite in that ecosystem.

The other groups that have to take responsibility are the charities running these contests. As the report indicates, after a while their credibility will suffer when that house never gets awarded year after year.


If you win a Powerball lotto there’s a good chance you’ll take the prize advertised in the Powerball ads.

Imagine if the ads for Powerball prizes were so misleading that not one winner chose to collect the advertised prize after learning of the fine print.


Exactly; the odds of winning are a rounding error.

I tried to make this joke to a guy from one of the big banks in Canada when I had to meet with him to get my RRSP moved. He didn’t get that I was making a joke (I assume I botched it and it’s just not that funny to begin with). I didn’t bother correcting him; I just wanted to get the meeting over with.

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you and @gracchus and I are on the same side here.

I am expressly saying that we can blame grifters and con-men for shady rules and scams all day long…but ultimately there does need to be some blame on the “contestants” in cases like this. They really should know full well not just the odds of winning the thing are nigh impossible, but even winning said thing probably has a catch.


The mark’s greed is a confidence artist’s best asset, no doubt. But I’m not going to come down too hard on an old lady who’s buying a ticket because she likes to win stuff and because it’s “for charity” just because she didn’t plow through the fine print (she doesn’t have hard feelings about it, anyhow).


It is one thing to blame ticket buyer when the “con man” says win a billion dollars, chance of winning one half out of a billion! (and the chance is indeed one half in a billion), it is an entirely different thing when the con man says win a billion dollars, chance of winning one in a billion (when the chance is half that, or zero if not enough tickets are bough…and it isn’t a billion, it is $250mil).

It is a con if the odds or prize is misstated. It is entertainment (or a tax on the illnumerate) if the odds and prize are accurately stated.

(that said as if I won $250mil when expecting $1bil, I wouldn’t waste any significant portion of it fighting for the other 75%)