Disturbing Facts About State Lotteries: They Prey on the Poor and Trash the Economy, and Political Leaders Don’t Care (Hard Time
State lotteries amount to a hidden tax on the poor. They eat up about 9 percent of take-home incomes from households making less than $13,000 a year. They siphon $50 billion a year away from local businesses—besides stores where they’re sold. And they are encouraged by state-sponsored ads suggesting everyone can win, win, win!
State lotteries, which once were illegal, now exist in most states. What many people don’t know about lotteries is that they prey on those who can least afford it; most people never win anything big; and 11 states raise more money from lotteries than from corporate taxes. Beyond the moral, mental health or religious debates over gambling, lotteries are another example of how society preys on the poor and the working-class.
Let’s look at why state lotteries do far more harm than good—especially at the bottom of the economic ladder.
6. They redistribute money up the economic ladder. Most people buy tickets and win little or nothing. This is taking more money from the poor, working and lower middle-classes than from those most able to pay taxes. These billions also are diverted away from local businesses—with the exception of the stores where tickets are sold. “This is exacty the opposite of the kind of economic stimulus a depressed economy needs,” wrote economist Wolff.