TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY PIERRE-MARIE GIRAUD  This picture taken 21 September 2007 shows balls used for the EuroMillions lottery at the headquarters of Francaise des Jeux (French Games) in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. A 130 million euro EuroMillions lottery jackpot will be at stake in nine European countries 28 September 2007. AFP PHOTO JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
© AFP

Bankers like to complain about their job’s drudgery. Just one more year, then retire to that nice château in France.

For an alternative retirement plan, bankers are buying EuroMillions lottery tickets: in-store sales in the City have outgrown those outside of the Square Mile and Canary Wharf by a factor of more than three times in the past six weeks.

The ticket-buying spree, inspired by a £113m jackpot, invites cheap jokes about bankers duped into irrationality by dreams of a happier, less busy life. Regulation, technology and public outrage have indeed made finance less cushy. An FT study estimates that an investment banker is 14m times more likely to get fired than win the Euromillions jackpot. Total compensation fell 15 per cent to $54bn across five major European investment banks in the five years to 2014, according to the think-tank New Financial.

But bankers and traders are calculating characters by instinct. True, only half of ticket revenues were spent on prizes in 2016. But an outsize jackpot has the same utility for almost all players. The ticket price of £2.50, however, represents a much smaller proportion of financiers’ discretionary income. On a relative basis then, the bet is cheaper for high earners. Traders are trained to spot and exploit such inefficiencies. And lotteries have been described as a regressive tax for the same reason.

Unfortunately for despondent bankers, the best road to riches is the same as ever: keep earning those bonuses and lever up. Alternative investments add spice along the way.

Lex welcomes your thoughts on this topic. Do bankers and traders in the City and Canary Wharf have the right idea making wagers on the biggest jackpot of the year? Please write your comments below.

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