Whole lotto-trouble

Why does The Patch promote the Lottery?

Why does The Patch promote the Lottery?

Click on the “About Us” at The Patch and you’ll read this: “We want to be the most trusted . . . resource in your community . . . .  We hope that our sites will strengthen communities and improve the lives of their residents.” 

OK then.  In the interest of ”strengthening communities and improving lives”, consider that research shows:

  • “The lottery relies on the poorest and least educated — ‘Thrill Seeking Dreamers,’ it calls them — to spend more than everyone else;
  • “The state pays millions to probe the thoughts and habits of potential lottery players;
  • “The lottery needs to ’reach people who have never played,’ partly because of the recession but mostly because the state's growth has slowed.”   


When Gov. Chris 'Gambling' Gregoire promised it would never happen again, what was 'it'? “The Lottery targeting youth as the next generation of gamblers by providing candy-wrapper scratch-off tickets” (Peter Callaghan, TNT, 2008).  When Rep. Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, heard about ‘it’ he said, “The state is grooming kids to be habitual gamblers.” 

  • “The lottery's contribution to education is a continued slide cast(ing) doubt on the purpose of the game.”   


Truth in advertising would suggest lotto-promos should read:  ‘Your kid failing?  Play the lotto.’  With evidence revealing the least educated play the lottery all while the lottery ostensibly supports education, there could hardly be a more sick-lical example of failed policy. 

  • “Anthony Miyazaki of Florida International University in Miami has spent more than a decade researching lottery players. He questions whether the state should promote a practice that exploits human weakness. ‘How do you have high expectations for people when the government (or The Patch) itself is promoting what is likely a false hope?’
  • “Studies of lottery spending, including one from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, show the money comes largely from Social Security, unemployment and other government support. Government, in other words, is paying government — with a lot of money siphoned off in the process. It's inefficient, the reserve bank writers concluded.”  


Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, wants to know why the government is in the gambling business.  “A government might provide a charitable service—food stamps, for example—as a way of guaranteeing everyone a particular level of life’s necessities” – i.e. protect and provide for the poor.

Carter further suggests that protecting the environment, providing health insurance perhaps, and so on are certainly, unequivocally, unanimously, the rightful, dutiful, purview and responsibility of government. The health, education, and welfare of the people are – as Baloo and Mowgli in “The Jungle Book” sing – “the simple bare necessities”.

But the lottery?

“The states that run lotteries today,” decries Carter, “wear away moral objections through a combination of heavy advertising and the trumpeting of huge jackpots by the complaisant media.” 

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