Lottery: To Play it is to Lose it


I relentlessly chastise friends and family for playing the lottery.  It’s designed for its players to lose.  Even the way the game is design to create an environment for its players to lose.

Early game designers found that fewer people would play when asked tp pick a number, any number, from 1 to 175,711,536,  When faced with those odds, people played less.  Soooo, the designers felt that it would be better* to have the players choose 5 numbers, each between 1 and 56 and then a MULTIPLIER ball.  Matching a bunch of smaller numbers is easier than matching 1 large number right?  Right?

No?

No.

Anyway, I digress.  5 years ago the State of North Carolina passed a law that gave us the lottery.  I have mixed feelings on the State sponsored lottery but what I really wanna talk about is the fact that they TOLD us the proceeds would be used for education.  When faced with the immediate and predictable backlash, they stated the money would be used “in addition to State funds, not a s a replacement of them”.  Then, as if we all believed that nonsense, the law passed and we just waited for the money to come roaring in.

Well, guess what?  The lottery money is a replacement, not an addition:

When state lawmakers passed the lottery in 2005, they promised that the money would not replace tax dollars meant for education, but analysis of the numbers shows that is exactly what has been happening.

While the lottery meets its revenue raising goals, cuts elsewhere in the state budget mean the stream of funding for education has continued a downward trend.

A look at the general fund education allotment since the lottery was established shows  spending slowly increased, but the actual percentage of the general fund allotted to education has dropped.

Ya know, I’ve been doin this whole “following politics” for about 2 years now, maybe a little longer.  The one thing I’ve learned is that when given extra money to play with, lawmakers will almost ALWAYS spend it rather than manage it.  Both sides, Democrat AND Republican.

My friends get tired of me teasin’ ’em.  The lottery is a tax on stupid people I tell ’em.  And that’s especially true at the macro level.

*Where better means more people losin’ more money.

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4 comments
  1. In my country (Romania)the lottery is a big spike.

    http://www.neuronu.ro/romanisme/loto-teapa-nationala/

  2. It’s a voluntary tax, nothing more.

    TX had a similar education controversy, some years ago, IIRC.

    • pino said:

      It’s a voluntary tax, nothing more.

      Correct. I struggle on this one. On one hand people should be free to spend money on what they want to.

      On the other, this is simply a devastating regressive tax on the poor.

      Then again, on the other hand one more time, it IS a way to tax those that don’t pay a Federal Income tax.

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