Lotteries

By Hunter Wallace

Here’s an issue which we have never discussed before:

“This floored me: Americans in the 43 states where lotteries are legal spent $70 billion on lotto games in 2014.

Seventy billion? I thought. No, that’s impossible. That’s more than $230 for every man, woman, and child in those states—or $300 for each adult.

But it’s true: According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, lotteries took in $70.1 billion in sales in the 2014 fiscal year. That’s more than Americans in all 50 states spent on sports tickets, books, video games, movie tickets, and recorded music sales. …”

What do you think? Are lotteries a regressive tax on the poor disguised as a game? A sin? A good way to fund education?

Alabama is one of the few states that doesn’t have a state lottery. The issue has been debated here as long as I can remember. Lots of people where I grew up drive across the state line to buy lottery tickets in Georgia and Florida. Their money subsidizes education in other states. Politicians always say Alabama would be more like Georgia if we had a lottery, but Arkansas has a lottery too.

Anyway, I never gamble or spend any money on the lottery. I buy lots of books though. I don’t have a strong opinion on the issue.

About Hunter Wallace 11763 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

20 Comments

  1. In CT a state lottery was sold as a way of funding education. That was over 40 years ago. It did no such thing. Without dramatic increases in state taxes over that time the lottery would be a drop in the bucket.

    Although a voluntary tax I believe it’s paid mostly by people who can’t afford it and are looking to get rich quick. I remember standing in line in a convenience store and watching a not so affluent looking woman purchase $100.00 dollars worth of tickets. Her chances of getting rich being slim and none.

  2. In my opinion… People believe that they can no longer get rich working hard. The “american dream is dead”. How else you gonna get rich other than turning to crime? The lottery.

  3. It is predator government. Gambling, liquor, drugs, government has become a racketeering enterprise. When government preys on the weaknesses and vices of its own citizens it is almost over.

  4. It is regressive and voluntary. But education depends on funding only to a certain point. After that it becomes a distraction that weakens education.

  5. “Are lotteries a regressive tax on the poor disguised as a game?”

    Yes.

    “Alabama is one of the few states that doesn’t have a state lottery.”

    Yet again proving that they are the best state in the union.

  6. Its the same with casinos. They don’t make their profits from high rollers or casual gamblers, they make it from the poor and problem gamblers. Without these customers they would be out of business. They freely admit it.

  7. Lotteries (and mass gambling in general) are a tax on people unable to understand probability and statistics. Ironically, lottery proceeds benefit education. Too much irony for you?

    Guess which kind of people love swilling lottery tickets. Yep, good ole Bellcurvius.

    Incidentally, this is why some people have a moral aversion to gambling. They don’t want either individuals, private corporations or governments profiting off the pure ignorance of individuals.

  8. More of the Same

    Missouri’s lotto proceeds are supposed to fund education. And they indeed do. But the trick is that since the state constitution mandates that at least 25% of state spending go to education, this means that every dollar the lottery fund spends on education, 75 cents of other funds that otherwise would have gone to education were backed out.

  9. “Are lotteries a regressive tax on the poor disguised as a game? A sin? A good way to fund education?”

    A bit of all three.

    Encouraging gambling is probably a bad thing unless it’s a form that leads people away from a worse form.

    It definitely preys on the poor and stupid.

    If the proceeds were used to benefit the people who buy the tickets better than they would use it themselves then I could rationalize it.

    So mixed opinion really. I assume the money is used for SJW stuff but if it wasn’t I could live with it.

  10. Lotteries tend to be more popular in poorer countries, as they represent one of the few ways in which anyone can get ahead. In a stratified society, and one like the USSA where the middle class is being gutted, there are few other options.

    Take Australia for example, with our insane house prices (median house price in Sydney is a million dollars, Melbourne, 3/4 of a million). For many people, it is getting to the point where winning the lottery is pretty much fast becoming the only way they’ll be able to afford a house. Wages are stagnating, unemployment rising, jobs being taken by mass immigrants. Working to buy a roof over your head is almost now impossible. Lottery, or sheer luck (or somehow gaming the tax system) are your remaining options.

    In a functional society, this wouldn’t be necessary. In a dysfunctional one, the ways to get ahead become more and more outrageous.

  11. I dont gamble either. Last time I was in Vegas I only drank couple beers and left good tips. No strong opinion either but this is more a rip-off than anything imo.

  12. A few months ago, I went to the casino in St. Charles and spent about $20 dollars on slots. It was the first time I had gambled in my life. I hated losing my money. Renee’s cousin went with us and blew his whole paycheck.

  13. A lot of blue collar men gamble to provide more but end up providing less. I’m not a fan of business models that are designed to prey on weaknesses.

  14. The broader point I think is that lotteries and “sin” taxes mean that the state has a vested interest in encouraging vice. There will always be a certain percentage of the population that gambles, smokes, eats excessive sweets, or drinks; but adding the state’s power to the obvious financial interests of those industries further deepens the sway of vice in society. Personally I favor these forms of taxation and consumption taxes in general instead of taxing productivity but only because it is easy for me to avoid them. It would be fine with me if sugar were taxed. But most people are not in the same boat. But I am willing to admit that the best form of taxation is a complicated question.

  15. Hunter Wallace
    ‘Imagine how many suckers go into that one casino and leave empty handed every day.’

    Most of the people come out on the losing end but they will only brag about their winnings.

    I used to own a used car dealership and can tell you that salesmen are inveterate gamblers.

    One fellow in particular would constantly show me his winning receipts.

    Met his wife several years later and I asked her about him. She said they divorced. His gambling habit ruined the marriage. She claims he blew over a quarter of a million dollars at casinos and they lost their home due to betting on sports.

  16. There is no place to Comment on the Deep South article! “Racial Equality” is a religion to people like Theroux. Recieved faith. There is no connection, not, more importantly, no INTEREST in factual reality.

  17. As Countenance touched upon, lotteries are a scam on two levels. One is the obvious suckers who buy tickets when a back alley three card monte presents better odds. The more invidious scam is on the population of voters who allow such scams by government. They’re pitched to fund “education” but even when such funds are sequestered the state simply takes the money it would have used for education before the lottery and uses that for some nefarious big-government boondoggle like welfare or a stadium.

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