The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Say what?

Since the 1970s and 1980s, state lotteries have been popular means of helping to fill state coffers. Today 39 states have lotteries and several more have voted to join the crowd. Many states sell the lottery concept to the public with the promise that a large portion of the proceeds will benefit public schools.

Via The Duff Wire, Lottery Isn't Always a Boon to Schools

As I was reading the article, an odd though crossed my mind. As I've often said, the lottery (and we have one here in Florida) is a tax break for the smart (odds of winning the Florida Lottery: 1 in 14,000,000) and even though we've had this lottery since 1988 the thought that the proceeds went to education never struck me as odd until just now.

Think of it for a moment. If schools actually did their purported job of raising educated citizens with the funds from a lottery, then said educated citizens would realize just how much of a crap shoot a lottery is and stop wasting their money buying into it. Even more scary is this quote:

But today, he adds, state lotteries have become a type of institution. “I don't think they can be cut now,” he says. “Once it gets in there, the state becomes pretty dependent on this for revenue.”

What's likely for the future is more state involvement in lotteries and other forms of gambling as well, McGowan forecasts.

It seems to me that states that rely upon lottery money for revenue don't exactly want edumakated konsumors realizing just how bad an investment the lottery is. Then again, it's not like you can force people to be intelligent (and thus the cynical side of me says that lotteries are here to stay).

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