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Lotteries

4 Ratings: 0.3
A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize. Some governments outlaw it, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery.

A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize. Some governments outlaw it, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery. It is common to find some degree of regulation of lottery by … see full wiki

1 review about Lotteries

Like it or not state lotteries are here to stay.

  • Oct 28, 2009
Rating:
-1
Back in 1964 the State of New Hampshire introduced the first state sponsored lottery in the United States in nearly a century.  The logic was quite simple really.  Lotteries were thought to be a relatively painless way to raise additional revenues for the state.  This was by no means a new idea.  Believe it or not the first recorded signs of a lottery are Keno slips from the Chinese Han Dynasty between 205 and 187 B.C.!   The original New Hampshire Lottery was a low-stakes, low-excitement lottery.  Drawings were held just twice a year and the winnings were not particularly large.  But the New Hampshire Lottery proved to be an immediate success and other states quickly began to  follow suit.  When  the state of New Jersey decided to offer more frequent drawings and larger purses the model for state lotteries as we know them today was born.  In fact, today 42 of the 50 United States offer some form of lottery and between 50 and 60 percent of adult Americans play the lottery on a regular basis.

An October 2009 Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of adults say states should run lotteries as a way to generate revenue.  This is an impressive endorsement of a government run program.  So where does the lottery money go?   Depending on where you live the state may choose to deposit the proceeds into the general fund while other states earmark the money for a specific purpose like education or highways.  History has shown that for the most part people play the lottery in all its various and sundry forms because it is a relatively low cost activity and unlike other areas of state government lotteries have proven to be relatively free of scandals. Even Thomas Jefferson endorsed the idea of lotteries when he wrote in his "Thoughts On Lotteries" back in 1826  that "revenue generated by lotteries are preferable to that generated by taxes, because lotteries, unlike taxes, involve only willing participants whose money is given without coercion" 

Meanwhile,  there remains to this day a  significant segment of the population that opposes lotteries.  That same Rasmussen poll found that 27% of respondents think that states should not be operating lotteries.  Why do so many people continue to be wary of lotteries?  The way these folks see it state-sponsored gambling destroys ethical values by promoting the ethos of easy money over hard work while preying upon the poor, the ignorant and compulsive gamblers.  Clearly there are social costs to gambling that are extremely difficult to quantify and that governments will rarely admit to.  Think of all the individuals who have lost their homes or destroyed their marriages because of a gambling habit.  People who oppose lotteries will also point to the fact that like so many other government programs once established lotteries are virtually impossible to get rid of.  Simply stated, states become addicted to lottery money and are loathe to discontinue lotteries for any reason. 

So where do I stand on the subject of lotteries?  While I don't favor legislating against them I for one choose not to participate.  I think they are mindless and a total waste of money.  When I was in college in the early 1970's lotteries were getting started in a good many states.  I recall having a debate in economics class about whether or not lotteries were a tax.  Now being a young skullful of mush I had become convinced that lotteries were really a tax on poor people. Several of us were debating this topic and so we discussed the matter with several of our professors.  The most liberal of the bunch was a professor named Marks (how appropriate).  When I put forth the argument that I thought that lotteries were a tax on poor people he shook his head and provided me with the most concise definition of lotteries that I have ever heard.  He quipped "Lotteries are not a tax on poor people, they are a tax on stupid people".   I would concur!  It might have been the only time that I ever agreed with this man.     
Like it or not state lotteries are here to stay. Like it or not state lotteries are here to stay. Like it or not state lotteries are here to stay. Like it or not state lotteries are here to stay.

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November 04, 2009
I like lotteries, if only for the reason that it gives hopes to many poor people. Just as with water and fire, a bit of it is ok. Too much of anything can be harmful. As for other ethical or political reasons, I really don't care that much for them.
 
October 28, 2009
I wouldn't mind state run gambling so much if the states actually allowed private gambling inside the state. Running a lottery or any form of gambling then saying your not going to allow a casino to be built is the real bullshit involved the whole issue.
 
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