April 10, 2014
Essay 3; Arguable Essay
Lottery: Winning is Losing
Imagine a world where spending a dollar gives you millions in return. For the rest of your life you live comfortably because you took change out of your pocket. Everyone would right? That sort of ideal is exactly what makes the lottery one of the biggest grossing businesses to date. People from all around America spend a dollar on lottery tickets to hopefully win the jackpot of $656 million. Whether rich or poor, the outcome is far too great to grasp. In fact, statistics show the poorer tend to be the ones spending the most on the dreamy reward, which theoretically makes sense due to the fact that they’re the ones most desperate. But are lottery tickets a scam? Then, if so, why do we people keep purchasing? Lotteries prey on the poor and even the lucky winners feel they were cursed. Lotteries weren’t always in existence and were banned in many countries including the US. That is until World War 2 happened; the government was in debt so they allowed the lottery to increase revenue without raising taxes. That all sounds great and dandy, but it isn’t without its major flaws. The chances of winning in the 2012 US Mega Millions lottery were a likelihood of 1 in 259,000,000 or the Powerball jackpot with a chance of 1 in 175.2 million. There’s a more likelihood of being struck by lightning (one in 3 million), attacked by a shark(one in 11.5 million), or even becoming a billionaire(with an astounding one in 785,166). (Investopedia) Its ridiculous and insane how rare the chance of a win is and, let’s face it, why not just become a billionaire. Logically assuming, the more desperate are the more likely to spend on the lottery. Why would any system use the poor to fund for economic problems? The power of greed is a major contribution as to why lotteries are a bad idea. Lotteries should be re-banned due to the fact that they pick on the poor, bring bad policy, and are simply a waste of money. Even with winners abounding, not all feel like they’ve won and some even think they were cursed. Others need hope more desperately than others. So when false hope comes into town, that’s when things get really twisted. But who it is affecting the most is the real question. The poor and uneducated are exactly what the lotteries are targeting. Households that earn less than $13,000 a year invest the most time and money on lotteries. In fact, they spend an astounding 9% of their money on it. It’s really a regressive tax on those least able to afford it. The typical U.S. family spending spends nearly the same share of its money on insurance and pensions, including the insurance programs like Social Security (Thompson). “People who can least afford it are throwing away on average 47 cents on the dollar every time they are buying a ticket. And the government, which relies increasingly on the lottery for funding, goes out of its way to tell them it’s a good idea”(Insider). But what can determine the reasoning for all this? Per capita sales are the highest in the poorest counties of North Carolina. During the 2009-10 NC Education Lottery sold $1.42 billion dollars worth on lottery tickets. With an adult population of 7,102,917, it meant that it was enough for every adult in the state to have spent $200.11 in lottery sales over a year of time. All but two of the 20 most impoverished counties had per capita sales that topped the state average based on the North Carolina Policy Watch. (NCPW) Another crisis occurred in South Carolina where people in households earning under $40,000 accounted for 28% of its population but made up 54% of frequent players (stoppredatorygambling.org). The complete irony is how the people who should be least qualified to play are the ones playing the most. If anything, the lottery should be played as a form of fun and not a form of desperation. “Poor people were 25% more likely to play for money, rather than fun, compared to average in one...
Cited: Acker, D. (2012). The Daily Beast. [Online]. [Accessed 17 April 2014]. Available from: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/31/mega-millions-winners-might-not-be-so-lucky-jack-whittaker-and-more-unlucky-lotto-winners.html
Blalock, G., Just, D.R
Clotfelter, C.T. and Cook, P.J. (2010). American Economic Association. The Journal Of Economic Perspectives 4(4).
Dexheimer, E. (2010). statesman. [Online]. [Accessed 18 April 2014]. Available from: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/texas-lottery-relies-increasingly-on-the-poor-and-/nRxb4
Ovaska, S. (2010). ncpolicywatch. [Online]. [Accessed 17 April 2014]. Available from: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2010/12/17/hope-and-hard-luck/#map
Wilson, J. and CNN, (2012). CNN. [Online]. [Accessed 17 April 2014]. Available from: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/15/health/psychology-playing-lottery-powerball
Scherzagier, A. (2012). usatoday. [Online]. [Accessed 30 April 2014]. Available from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/28/winner-lottery-bankrupt/1731367/:
McElhinny, K. (2008). CMU. [Online]. [Accessed 18 April 2014]. Available from: www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2008/July/july24_lottery.shtml
Please join StudyMode to read the full document