Lotteries: Good for who? | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lotteries: Good for who?

Posted By on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 9:18 AM

click to enlarge lotto.jpg
The next Arkansas legislature will move on the Arkansas Lottery in some fashion — probably by demolishing the current structure and outsourcing the enterprise to a British outfit that hired a couple of Republican lobbyists a while back to start plotting the coup.

Doesn't matter who runs it. John Oliver's takedown on HBO doesn't reveal anything you didn't already know, but he presents it with humor in a particularly effective way. Key points:

1) It's a sucker's game. Do the arithmetic.  As he quotes someone: You have as much chance at winning big as being struck by lightning while being eaten by a shark.

2) It doesn't make money for education. Most states with lotteries are spending less on education today than they did before lotteries started. (See Arkansas: State spending may not fit that profile just yet, but don't tell it to the nominal beneficiaries, college students. They've seen dramatically shrinking lottery scholarships against rapidly rising college costs.)

3) For lotteries to grow, they must move into conventional machine gambling. (In Arkansas, that will be tough as long as the Oaklawn and Southland casinos are around.) They are also moving to phone app gambling. (Oaklawn got there first in Arkansas.)

4) States are preying on addicts. It's one thing when it's Charles Cella or Jeremy Jacobs who do the preying. But the state?

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