The lottery has been around for centuries in one form or another. Over the years, it has evolved reaching its peak form only a few years ago. The rules change, but the underlying idea remains the same. Now I know that the lottery “looks” amazing, but it has a notorious background if you view it in a different light. Sometimes, things are not what they appear to be. This is an article about the dark side of the lottery, but, not about the lottery per se, but how operators run these national lotteries.
It’s going to be rough, but hold on. It’s better to find out about this from me than from somebody else.
The Origins of the Lottery Tell a Lot About Its Nature – Funding the Military
Only a tiny fraction of the lottery player base knows about the origins of the lottery, and how was the idea conceived. First and foremost, the lottery as we know it was introduced in China with the objective to gather resources to fund the military. Sure, a good chunk of the revenues was redistributed back to the people, but a decent one was turned into military funding. This was one smart move. The people just helped their emperor provide resources for his soldiers.
Today, the lottery has become a business, but it’s more to it than just calling it a business. To be straight, it starts to look shady when I call it a business. The more I seem to move away from the term “game” the more hideous it becomes.
Is Lottery Just a Simple, Unfair Redistribution of Wealth?
In all honesty, there are many arguments that back this statement. Only a handful of players feel the direct benefits from the lottery, those who actually win. The lottery acts as a funding source for public projects. That mini amusement park that just appeared in your town/city, was funded by the lottery. A new sports club is being established, which was funded by the lottery.
Then why am I calling it an “unfair” redistribution of wealth, if the money is being directed for public the public good? However, why aren’t these projects funded by the wealthiest 1%? Maybe the fiscal policy needs an overhaul. By the way, not all lottery operators are as transparent as they should be. I’m not saying all aren’t, but there are some rogue lottery operators.
Why aren’t these lottery operators sanctioned in any way? It’s pretty straightforward, the lottery operator “is in bed” with the government, which leads us to my next point!
The Lottery Is an Honest Business? – An Honest Additional Tax
I’ve heard this many times before. It just doesn’t go away. Well, once I tested it with numbers, it clearly is an additional tax, targeting people who don’t like the word “gambling”, who are bad in mathematics, and statistics specifically, and who want to get rich fast! Sure, winning $10m sounds good, winning $100m sounds better. What’s not to like about a Powerball jackpot of $1,500,000,000? For starters, this jackpot was shared among 3 winners. Fun fact, they never saw the $1,500,000,000, because the government took almost half of this amount. This makes the jackpot approximately $800,000,000 only. Yes, that’s “only” considering it is double the advertised amount.
Players are being lied to from the get-go. You don’t have to buy a lottery ticket, you don’t have to take part in the lottery to be lied to. That banner you saw, that advertises this humongous jackpot, is false. Nobody says the government will take away half of this prize.
It gets worse!
Predatory Advertising – Targeting Low-Income Individuals
You know how gambling is considered a potential threat to minors, people with low income, and people who have shown an affinity for developing gambling addiction in the past. Gambling addiction is a serious issue. But, what about the protection of lottery players who get carried away? Have you seen any casinos being advertised in your city? If you’re living out of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, this is a rare sight. Have you seen any lottery adverts? You betcha! The problem is, most of these banners, and billboards are located in neighborhoods with low income. Furthermore, have ever seen a Lamborghini commercial? Any kind of ad related to Lamborghini? I’m pretty sure you haven’t. The individual who’d buy a Lamborghini is not in front of the TV.
So, why these ads? Why take away more of those who are in need? In addition, most of these people never feel as many benefits as they deserve. I’m not saying you SHOULDN’T play the lottery. I just want to see ethical, fair, true advertising.
There have been occasions when the media slammed lottery operators for doing exactly this. Guess what! The authorities didn’t do much, because there’s no committee with this objective.
Lottery as a Business in Numbers
I’m going to be brutal! As it turns out, lottery players spend 5% to 9% on lottery tickets. This would’ve been perfectly OK if the returns are higher. Maybe remove the taxes, and reduce the number count in the drum. The truly sad thing is, this is the average, meaning some households spend more than 9% on lottery tickets.
Sure, some lotteries come with better odds and if you invest enough time, you can skew the odds in your favor. Numbers that occur frequently, a fine range of numbers, avoiding common mistakes, avoiding date numbers, and a few other things, and you’re one step closer to the jackpot.
One-third of lottery winners eventually go bankrupt. Why? Because they don’t have a clue what to do with that kind of money. On top of this, the jackpot doesn’t change their happiness level.
And what’s the bottom line? Why is all of this a thing? The government benefits, all those taxes pouring in. They might as well call it the Government for Profit Run Lottery.