The official lottery is a major revenue stream for most states. It’s a good source of income for public services, but it also has a few serious flaws.
While lottery sales are largely based on personal preference, they’re also a key driver of economic inequality. Every state lottery takes a disproportionate toll on low-income people.
It’s a scam
Lottery players are constantly paying into a commercial gambling system that gives them nothing in return. And even if you win, the jackpot usually doesn’t go to you.
It’s a waste of money
As a result, many people feel that the lottery is a tax on them and their friends and family. They’re paying to participate in a system that doesn’t really benefit them, according to Daniel Bernal, an anti-lottery activist.
It’s a scam
The first state-run lottery was approved in 1964 by the affluent state of New Hampshire. Advocates argued that state-run gambling would fill state coffers without increasing state taxes and would keep money in the pockets of ordinary citizens.
But a quick look at the first legal lottery games revealed that they were a bust. They brought in only thirty-three million dollars, about two per cent of the state’s revenues.
They also created a huge drain on taxpayers who had to pay for the lottery as well as for the schools and other public services it supported, according to Cohen. As a result, many white voters, who had long opposed gambling as a way to evade taxes, supported it for other reasons.