Lotteries are a type of play in which lots are drawn for prizes. Lotteries have been referenced in many works of literature, including William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar. In the latter, William Shakespeare describes the lottery as a kind of sorting privilege. In the former, every warriour is a soldier of fortune; in the latter, every commander has his own lottery.
Lottery opponents contend that those targeted by lotteries come from lower income brackets
Lottery opponents contend that the people targeted by lotteries are often from lower income groups, and that they have been found to spend more than the average US household on the lottery. They say that lottery revenues are in effect a tax on the poor, and that the lottery continues to target lower-income groups.
Opponents of the lottery argue that it is preying on the poorest, and that it creates a poverty trap for those living in lower-income neighborhoods. According to statistics, the poorest 20 percent of Americans spend the most on lottery tickets, and households earning less than $12,400 spend an average of five percent of their income on lottery tickets. The lottery has been found to be particularly harmful to the poor, as those in lower-income neighborhoods purchase lottery tickets at significantly higher rates than whites.
Lottery profits divert from education programs
Until recently, state officials devoted a significant portion of lottery profits to education programs, but last year, they found that the money was being diverted to other purposes. For example, lawmakers diverted $326 million from the lottery to pay for support staff, such as custodians, office assistants and substitute teachers. However, as of the end of the current budget year, the state reported spending only $385 million on support staff and nothing on new teaching jobs.
These “discretionary” disbursements are often not transparent and have very different rules than those for the general education budget. That leaves room for abuse and cronyism, especially when funds are targeted for particular projects. State education systems could benefit from additional lottery revenue, but they should not be the only source of state education funding.
African-Americans are more likely to play the lottery
African-Americans are more likely to play lotteries than other groups, including whites and Latinos. The lottery’s success is partly due to African-American participation, which has been a popular pastime since the early twentieth century. Historically, black neighborhoods were a hub for lottery activity, and the money that went into running the games stayed in the community. Today, however, lottery proceeds are largely redistributed to middle and upper-class neighborhoods. Orangeburg County, South Carolina, reported that it spent $1,274 per person on lottery tickets since 2008.
Those who make less than $10,000 a year spend $597 on lottery tickets, which is about 6 percent of their income. Those who live in low-income neighborhoods are also more likely to play the lottery. In addition, African-Americans are more likely than whites to be addicted to lottery gambling. This trend is likely due to the fact that African-Americans are twice as likely to develop problem gambling compared to whites. These statistics are further confirmed by the fact that African-American women are more likely than white women to become addicted to lottery playing. As a result, states have resorted to offering incentives to encourage people to buy lottery tickets.
Lottery games feature famous celebrities, sports figures, or cartoon characters
Throughout the years, many lotteries have partnered with famous brands and sports teams to create fun lottery games. In New Jersey, for example, the New Jersey Lottery Commission recently announced a grand prize that included a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Other lottery games have featured famous sports figures, celebrities, and cartoon characters. These merchandising deals benefit both the lottery and the brands.
The first lottery games were mostly raffles, which meant that players waited for weeks before seeing if their numbers were drawn. These “passive drawing” games were the most popular lotteries during the early twentieth century. After the passage of Prohibition, gambling became legal in Nevada, and charitable lotteries became increasingly popular across the country. However, lingering fears of fraud continued to hold back the popularity of lotteries for more than two decades.