Bloomberg ranks my home state Georgia the biggest sucker in a lottery expenditures-vs.-winnings index:
Players in Georgia, whose per capita income is about 10 percent below the U.S. average, are doing the most damage to their personal finances. …
Georgia residents spent an average $470.73 on the lottery in 2010, or 1 percent of their personal income, while they received the sixth-highest prize payouts, 63 cents for each dollar spent, the Sucker Index shows.
My sister and I got our undergrad degrees for free in GA—with extra money for fees and books—because the lottery paid for it. We’re grateful but also aware that we went to school for free on the backs of mostly poorer people.
Now the situation is sickening for different reasons:
In the fiscal year ended June 30, the Georgia lottery gave 25.3 percent of revenue, or $846.1 million, to education. … In 1997, the lottery gave 35 percent of revenue, or $581 million.
The state lottery is making more money than ever but giving 10% less of its proceeds to education. Meanwhile that college tuition program has been slashed; fewer students receive any money, and all students receive less money. Bad food, and such small portions.
I remember when the lottery legislation was passed in the early 90s. The only pushback was from the Religious Right—radio ads by James Dobson—so opposition to the lottery became another annoying marginal opinion like anti-same-sex marriage stuff. Georgia’s governor currently wants to legalize casinos and open three of them, so hopefully broader opposition forms this time. Money is being channeled up the pyramid: it’s a justice problem.
I went to grad school on the backs of the very richest people so that I could have these opinions.