Mega Millions lottery officials announced today that two winning tickets had been sold for a jackpot of 648 million USD. One ticket was sold in Georgia, and another in California. In recent days, lottery officials have been practically gushing as the estimated prize went up and the hype reached nearly epic proportions. What they don’t tell you is how many LOSING tickets were sold.
I see this as well at some convenience stores, they’ll have photocopies of winning scratchies up at the counter or a big sign that says: “$10,000 Winning Lottery Ticket Sold Here!” Ask them how many thousands of dollars they’ve sold in the various state-run gambling schemes in just the last DAY? CNN reports that $8,000 of Mega Millions tickets were sold in just one hour in Florida alone, how much loot do you think they raised across the country? I haven’t been able to find that figure anywhere, but rest assured the states will always win more than they pay out. After all, they make the odds. I would love to be able to print up $50 million worth of scratch tickets that pay out only 5 million in prizes, but of course that would illegal. The 48 states that run lotteries have the balls to send people to jail for naughty things like bookmaking and using drugs, yet they all run the biggest con games on the planet.
How come the media isn’t doing any reporting on all the people who lost money? It wouldn’t be a very glamorous story. Gamblers tend to come from lower-income households, these are the people our state governments choose to prey upon. How many people missed a meal, or couldn’t buy shoes, or pay the bills on time because they blew their money on this latest scam? The Obama administration, champions of the poor, even gave states the right to run their own internet gambling operations.
You’ll hear the argument: “you can’t win if you don’t play”. It sounds logical, but what are the actual probabilities of winning? They are so low as to be almost non-existent. So you may be playing a game, but it’s a game you’re going to lose.
“But Bill, aren’t you a libertarian? Don’t people have the right to gamble away their money if that’s what they choose?” They sure do, but what frosts my balls is that the states run the show. You or I can’t run an internet gaming site unless we want to set up an off-shore company; we can’t print our own scratch tickets and sell them on Ebay. The state gets to determine which casino gets to open and where, so the casinos will not compete with their lotteries. Then they get to spend millions advertising their scams to pull more money out of our pockets, and we go along with it.
Lotteries are a tax, people. Plain and simple. You either choose to give the state more of your money or you don’t.
THEY can’t win, if we don’t play.