What a relief to see the lottery bill pass in Virginia. The lack of a state-run lottery very nearly kept my family from moving to Virginia last year. In Maryland, we had been big winners in the lottery -- week after week. We couldn't imagine living without the extra income.

One evening, my friends and I had came up with the winning strategy. It was not a strategy that would win us millions, but one that would guarantee us a better standard of living -- with no risk to ourselves.

The strategy was simple. We never bought a single ticket. Instead, we would encourage all the poor people we knew to buy the tickets.

This worked like a charm. The poor people heard us talking up the lottery, and they never knew that we hadn't invested a cent. Thanks to poor people, I got better roads for my BMW and nicer schools for my kid.

Now that the lottery has come to Virginia, I just have to share this secret with my friends and neighbors. I shouldn't be the only one to profit. Pass the word, but don't tell the poor people. None of this can work without them.

JAMES HAWORTH Reston