The truth of the lottery

The lottery is viewed by many as a chance to change a life. The truth of the lottery, though, is surprising.
The lottery is viewed by many as a chance to change a life. The truth of the lottery, though, is surprising.

With all this lottery talk, one cannot abstain from thinking what they would do with all that money. Maybe you would buy a new car or a house for your parents. The more you think about, though, the more you fall into the lottery trap.

Studies done from multiple sources put in perspective the probability of winning. They show you have a much getting struck by lightning twice, or a golfer hitting a consecutive hole in one. By comparison, casino gambling is a sound investment.

Yet, the poorest places are always the areas with the most lottery ticket purchases. Don’t believe the lottery flourishes when the people are penniless?

In 2008, easily the worst economic year since the Great Depression, 22 of the 42 states with lotteries set record sales. People, as sad is it may seem, can become so desperate that they turn to hitting the lottery as their only option.

According to an NC Policy Watch analysis found that 20 of the 22 most poverty stricken counties had more per person sales that exceeded the state limit. Basically, more money was being spent per person on the lottery in the impoverished areas.

These statistics point to the fact the lottery in effect preys on the poor.

Some would say selling dreams for $1 or $2 is really not that big of a deal. No matter how silly it may seem, though, the lottery can become addicting. In 2008, twenty percent of callers to the 1-800-GAMBLER national hotline called for help controlling their lottery spending.

So, what if someone doesn’t win? It is the North Carolina Education Lottery, right? So that means with every ticket, a ticket purchaser are helping education across the state. Maybe they’re helping pay a teachers salary, or putting books in the library. A study by the North Carolina Justice Center disapproves this conception.

According to the North Carolina Justice Center, the state spends less on education than they did before the lottery went into effect in 2005. So even with the ridiculous amount of money the state makes with the lottery, they don’t spend more money on education?

On the other hand, according to the NC Education Lottery’s website, the lottery has pumped $189,435,291 into Wake County’s education system. This has payed for school construction projects, “at risk” Pre-K students, college scholarships and teacher salaries (in grades K-3).

However, faced with a major budget shortfall last year, lawmakers used $26.6 million of the lottery money on Medicaid funding.

States focus most of their attention on selling the tickets to the poor. They spread the idea of having all that money, which of course, won’t happen. Unless, of course, you are the winner of the Mega Millions(1 in 175,722,536), or the Powerball(1 in 175,223,510).

When someone does win the lottery, I’ll use $213 million as an example. After federal, state, and local taxes, they should be prepared to fork up about 43% of it, or about $93 million to Uncle Sam.

The presumption is even after all these taxes they would still be rich and happy for life, which of course is wrong.

According to financial advisor Dave Ramsey, the divorce rate of lottery winners is four times the national average, and an incredible 65% of them are bankrupt within 15 years. We’ve all heard the stories of the broke lotto winners, but who would consider that while purchasing a ticket?

Then again, saying the government should end the lottery is like saying the government should prevent people from doing stupid things with their money. The government’s message is you can do what you want with your money, even buy false dreams.

No matter how bad it may seem, I don’t disagree.


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