You’re Nothing but a Number to the Lottery

I listened to a story on the radio the other day about the “strength” of the Tennessee State Lottery, which, by the way, actually has a “Duck Dynasty” scratch off game. But anyways, according to the story the Tennessee State Lottery is “enjoying” the strongest growth among all state lotteries in the ole’ US of A. Truth be told, the state lottery made $1.37 billion in a downturned, struggling 2013 Tennessee economy. Yup! Pretty interesting; or should I say pretty sad?

The interview eventually included a few audio quotes given by the lottery’s commissioner/president/CEO/boss, who actually has an award named after her by the Public Gaming Research Institute, giving her point of view of the financially booming lottery system in Tennessee. In one of the quotes she bragged about how every state lottery, three in total, that she began and maintained with her “leadership” experienced growth – all 28 years in a row. You could hear the joy and excitement and pride in her voice.

But to me there should be no joy or no excitement or no pride about the “achievements” of any state lottery. It’s nothing but a predatory system that preys off of the poor. Study after study has revealed that the neighborhoods and communities with the lowest median income have the highest rates of sales for the lottery systems. But yet the system shows no shame, only reminding people to “play responsibly” and to call the toll-free number listed on the back if they think they have a problem.

Well I have a problem! I have a problem with people making hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars by taking 2 and 3 dollars at a time out of the pockets of the impoverished and impressionable people who are constantly pounded with the importunities of the lottery’s TV and radio commercials! They incessantly present wining as easy and as a dream come true. And they’re right to one extent – people are dreaming if they think they’re going to get rich off of playing the lottery.

Some may say, “But Eugene, the lottery awards money to its winners and in the grand scheme of things it’s all for the children and their education.” To that I say, “Garbage!” The lottery worries about nothing other than itself. People are nothing but a number in the system. Numbers that must be maintained so salaries can be filled; and I’m talking about salaries that the average lottery player wishes they could win! And education? If the state was so concerned about education then they could do more with the money that they tax the people with already!

The average person who plays the lottery isn’t thinking about the education of others. They aren’t interested in going to school – they’re getting schooled every time they buy a ticket. And it’s a lesson in economics that the system is willing to teach over and over and over to people who won’t learn.

Lotteries are all about the numbers, and the numbers don’t lie – the lotteries are in it for the money, not for you!

He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.” (Proverbs 22:16)

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