When I was a child, my parents always wanted to run a Christmas tree.
Now, Christmas is all but extinct.
“Christmas is the season we all miss most,” says Michael Gove, the former minister of state for the arts, who founded the UK’s National Lottery and has been one of the most successful lottery-winners in history.
This year, the National Lotteries of England and Wales has been accused of over-hyping the lottery, saying that “more than 200,000 people have already purchased tickets”.
“We can’t be too optimistic when the odds of winning are so slim,” Gove adds.
The Royal Commission into Organised Crime’s findings about the success of the lottery in England and the Isle of Man in 2013 concluded that the Royal Lottery “did not operate in a way that encouraged organised crime to manipulate the numbers of tickets”.
But Gove says that was only partly true.
There were some small increases in organised crime in the last few years.
For example, in 2016 there were more than 4,500 incidents of suspected fraud in the Royal Bank of Scotland, while in 2017 there were 5,300.
But Goves claims the overall picture is “much more dire”.
He says that the government needs to put in place tougher rules to stop organised crime from manipulating the lottery.
And he’s not alone.
More than 500 MPs have written to the government, calling for tougher penalties for people who cheat the lottery and more help for people caught.
One of the big criticisms of the Royal Commission’s findings was that the Government did not do enough to help victims of fraud.
So why are there so many loopholes?
Gove argues that the system is broken.
“[A lot of] the people who buy tickets are criminals, so they can get away with it,” he says.
In fact, a study published in the UK newspaper The Guardian in 2017 found that the number of people who claim to be victims of organised crime rose by 50 per cent between 2000 and 2017.
Gove believes the number one problem with the lottery is that it “fails to reward people who act responsibly”.
“We don’t know how to reward someone who has the right to cheat,” he adds.
Gove is a big believer in the power of social media, saying the internet has helped “the world get a grip” on the issue of gambling.
“The world is waking up,” he told me.
“We’re not going to go back to a society where every little detail is just ignored.
We need to wake up, we need to take action.”
How to win the lottery without a lottery ticket.
You can buy a ticket to the lottery for £30,000 ($41,000).
If you’re not already an official winner, you can win a lottery jackpot by sharing a link on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or by sharing your own lottery story.
The winner will receive a £5 million prize.
You will need to win more than 10,000 lottery tickets to win a prize of £100 million.