The Lottery – A Tax on Stupid People

Apparently Science Digest isn’t willing to put it that bluntly, but their research does show that:

“Some poor people see playing the lottery as their best opportunity for improving their financial situations, albeit wrongly so,” said the study’s lead author Emily Haisley, a doctoral student in the Department of Organizational Behavior and Theory at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. “The hope of getting out of poverty encourages people to continue to buy tickets, even though their chances of stumbling upon a life-changing windfall are nearly impossibly slim and buying lottery tickets in fact exacerbates the very poverty that purchasers are hoping to escape.”

The lottery is a tax on people who don’t understand mathematics.  And if you don’t understand math you are more likely to be poor.

I just love the squishly little recommendation this bunch of academics makes though:

In the study, the researchers note that lotteries set off a vicious cycle that not only exploits low-income individuals’ desires to escape poverty but also directly prevents them from improving upon their financial situations. They recommend that state lottery administrators explore strategies that balance the economic burdens faced by low-income households with the need to maintain important funding streams for state governments.

So its a great revenue stream for governments (and organized crime) but they want it to be structured in such a way as to balance the economic burdens of the poor with their stupidity in playing the lotto which gives the states the money to economically exploit the poor.

Kind of circular thinking, eh?