Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Lottery - A sucker's bet

How I despise the state lottery. I wrote an article many years ago for the Texas Observer expounding on my opposition to a state lottery for Texas - using Connecticut - my domicile at that time - as an example.
In 1990-91 Connecticut was in the throes of a major budget crisis at the same time that Texas was about to adopt its first state lottery. I thought it was ironic that the politicos in Texas were touting a lottery as a miracle cure for future budget woes when Connecticut had been running its own lotter for more than 10 years at that time and look where it got them.

Of course, my protestations did little to dissuade the state from going down its current path - to this day I consider it the one big mistake made by Gov. Ann Richards.

Now we can fast-forward 10-plus years and we find Texas involved in its own budget crisis and now lawmakers want to try to squeeze more blood out of the lottery turnip by latching on to one of the grotesque multi-state con games.

The lottery is the most regressive form of taxation ever devised. It has been called a tax on stupid people and I can't argue against that assessment. It does nothing to benefit the state's economy because it does not generate new revenues - it only sops up what people are willing to throw away on their hopes and dreams.

I'm not a big fan of gambling in general, but real gamblers know that the lottery is the worst possible game with the worst odds of winning. It is a con game of the highest degree and the biggest crime here is that it is our own government - which should be protecting people from being conned - participating in this fleecing of the masses.

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