Saturday, December 13, 2014

It is the Holiday Season when we all buy gifts for people that are important to us. The problem by this time is that there are still people you want to buy stuff for but your cash has run out. Where could I possibly get cash quickly? How about the Lottery? 44 states have the lottery and they spend billions of dollars every year advertising us to take place in the game of chance that you will even win your dollar back. They do that because the Lottery is a massive moneymaker for them. The Lottery chances of you winning cash will probably make you homeless trying to even win your bets back.

Last year alone Lottery sales totaled about $68 Billion dollars. That is more money than Americans spent on movie tickets, music, Porn, the NFL, Major League Baseball and video games combined. That means that Americans spent more money on the Lottery than on America. It should be strange to us that the government is running a gigantic gambling business but we never think of it that way because the Lottery is being presented to us as if it is a charitable organization. In Tennessee the commercials say money for education opens a lot of doors, In Oregon they say 5 Billion dollars have gone to education, New York says a portion of every ticket aids a school child. With all that money every school child should be going to school with a limo service by now.

Those ads imply that anyone not playing the lottery is selfish and hates educating children. Over the years it has been determined that lower income families spend more money on Lottery tickets.  The Lottery is in the business of selling people hopes however the lottery is not an investment. The real chances of winning is one out of 161 Million. The Mega Millions chances are being struck by lightning while being eaten by a shark. The Lottery does have smaller games where the odds are a little bit better but even then it pays out a much lower percentage of its revenues. With ads that say, “Hey you never know” we are taught to ignore the odds.

Even when people do win big, things have a tendency to go sour fast. We have all heard of a tragic Lottery winner story where they blow through all their money or have all types of relationship problems all the time.  In Israel Lottery winners are actually photographed wearing masks to protect their identities. In the 1990’s one man from Gaza collected his prize by showing up to collect his winnings with a bag over his head.  Winning the Lottery can be such a curse that even in the Middle East it can mean a threat to your life if you win. So why play at all?

For some playing the Lottery can be very addictive and the states know that. They offer services to help problem gamblers. However if you Google Lottery intervention, other gambling sites pop up. Oregon who makes 80% revenue from Lottery gaming is going further offering video slots and poker machines everywhere in the state. Should they have Lottery wheels and tables too but not call themselves Vegas? State Lotteries were illegal until 1964. The reality is that in nearly 50 per cent of the states none of the money does trickle down to fund education. They do not put money in an envelope and deliver it to schools. It is like pissing in a swimming pool. The money spreads all around until maybe some of it will go into the filter. While the piss is flowing in, other water is flowing out till you don’t know where the piss is. Gross! Next tell me that every sip of whisky will educate a kid too.

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