Prize Linked Savings - Great economics, poor theology

I came into contact with the idea of "Prize Linked Savings" (PLS) through a Freakonomics podcast. The PLS is an idea that invites people to put money into a savings account with a slightly smaller interest rate (say .5% smaller than a traditional savings account). The bank then pools together all these .5% interests from many accounts in order to generate cash prizes for the participants. So it functions like a raffle that in order to play you have to save money. The beauty is that even if you do not win the raffle, you still get to keep the money in the savings account. So damn brilliant that it has to be illegal, right?

Right. The PLS is illegal for banks (with some rare exceptions) to do because it 'cuts into' the monopoly of the state run lottery.

This aside, All  I can think about is how the UMC can use our connectional system to create a financial institution to help establish an economic floor. Why the UMC is not creating a KIVA like gig or why we are not set up to work as credit unions I am not sure and I hope one day my dream of the "Jubilee Bank" will be realized. PLS is another option the connectional UMC might consider creating real change for peoples' lives if we were focused on helping repair the world.

Beyond the legality of the PLS and what the UMC could do to help fight for the legality of such a program, it dawned on me that many of my Christian brothers and sisters view religion as a PLS for the afterlife.

If we are Christian in order to "win" a prize down the road (heaven), if we are choosing a religion based on which one we think gives us the greater chance to get this prize, if we are religious in order to save up crowns in heaven in order to reap rewards in the afterlife - then I wonder if we are not just viewing religion as an elaborate PLS.