An article on Albuquerque Journal August 7, 2013 front page, placed conspicuously above the fold, with pictures in full color, trumpeted the Rio Rancho couple who recently won the Hot Lotto jackpot. That article was bound to get the juices going in many readers to throw away perfectly good money on the chance of winning future lotteries. After all, as they say in the ads, somebody has to win it.
It’s been a long time since we have read articles in the newspapers or seen stories on TV about the thousands of lottery players who loose major money on the games. Studies have repeatedly shown that about 10% of the lottery players spend 80% of the money, which mostly represents problem gamblers and potential problem gamblers, whose lives are being wrecked by their addiction.
An article in the New York Times titled, Win a Lottery Jackpot? Not Much Chance of That, spells out the enormously small chances of winning jackpots in any of the lotteries. Despite the odds, Americans seem to think they have a good shot. The Consumer Federation of America did a study that found that “21 percent of respondents said playing the lottery is ‘the most practical strategy for accumulating several hundred thousand dollars’ for retirement.” The rates get even higher among those in the population earning less than $25,000 per year.
The government consider the losers to be insignificant and “expendable” in the pursuit of more tax dollars. It is time for the government to end the failed experiment in predatory gambling.