One frequent topic of conversation was the Pennsylvania state lottery. More than half of the workers regularly purchased lottery tickets. Some won small prizes on occasion, but all were net losers.
People had their own “systems,” so there was no pooling of money. Many years later lotteries have realized the marketing benefits of megaprizes that far exceed the now-meager winnings that excited my hospital co-workers.
The era of megaprizes seems to have also spurred a growth in two areas. First, families or co-workers pooling resources to buy into a chance to win the super prize. Second, legal disputes as to who is entitled to what when the lottery partners actually win a big prize.