Yes, the state run numbers game, aka the lottery, is with us for good or bad, but I do question the way prizes are distributed.
From time to time I see posted in store windows the top prize that will be awarded to a winning ticket; this sum sometimes exceeds $200 million. Now consider who are the purchasers of lottery tickets: the poor, the indebted, the desperate. How much would it take for them to get their lives back on track? I would suggest a lot less than $200 million, and I also ask myself: just what is the average lottery ticket purchaser going to do with that much money?
It would make more sense to split the large prizes into a number of smaller amounts that would be enough to turn people's lives around (pay off debts, buy a house, get some job training, put kids through college), but not so huge a sum as to be overwhelming. Say twenty $10 million prizes instead of one large prize. So instead of the size of the prize going up week by week as there are no winning tickets, the number of prizes would go up. Having a larger number of prizes increases the chance of picking a winning number combination, so we could have more winners, and so more people whose lives could be improved.
Update 1/10/2016 And now the top prize on the Powerball has reached 1.3 billion dollars. That could be split to make 130 ten million dollar winners.