The Lottery preys on the poorest

Lotteries: America's $70 Billion Shame


The national average hides a lot of variance among the states. In North Dakota, per-capita lottery spending is a pittance at just $36 a year. In South Dakota, however, it’s an egregious $755 per head. Lotto games bring in the most money per person in the mid-Atlantic and northeast: number-one Rhode Island (nearly $800 per capita!), Massachusetts, and Delaware are among the top five states, while New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania join them in the top 13 (so does Washington, D.C.). ... it’s the poor who are really losing. The poorest third of households buy half of all lotto tickets, according to a Duke University study in the 1980s, in part because lotteries are advertised most aggressively in poorer neighborhoods. ... In an age of rising income inequality, it’s pernicious that states rely on monetizing the desperate hope of its poorest residents. State lotteries take from the poor to spare the rich, all while marching under the banner of voluntary entertainment.
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  1. Can't argue with the facts of the article. But the phrase in his concluding paragraph, "State lotteries take from the poor to spare the rich..." is complete and utter nonsense. Lotteries are simply a vehicle for our morally and financially bankrupt governments to spend money that isn't theirs. The "tax the rich more" mantra doesn't belong in that article whatsoever.

  2. I like the terms "stupidity tax" and "tax on people who can't do math" as apt descriptors of the lottery. I remember reading a while back, though--source Taxpayers' League of MN I believe--that after you pay the costs of problem gambling, there isn't much left of lottery revenues. So it penalizes the poor but doesn't even replace tax revenues.


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