Lotteries capitalize on gas prices to exploit desperate people


In an effort to fund ever-increasing fiscal irresponsibility, the Florida Lottery announced that, in addition to the regular cash prizes, people who buy its "Summer Cash" tickets can also win one of 40 gas for-a-lifetime prize or 400 gas for-a-year prizes. The promotion started on June 30th and will continue through August 26th.

Seeing that this is a great way to increase sales, California State Senator Dean Flore, a Democrat, sent a letter to the California Lottery urging that the state run a similar marketing campaign. I'm tempted to send a letter to the Democratic Party demanding that it disown Flore, but that's another story.

Here's what's so messed up about the idea: it's designed to appeal to people desperately seeking relief from high gas prices and, mostly likely, that's not going to be the people earning $500,000 per year. Imagine the single mother who can barely afford to provide for her children stopping to fill up her tank on the way work: she's never bought a Lottery ticket in her life, but how could she help being lured in by the promise of free gas?

It's disgraceful that any state would exploit its most vulnerable citizens like this, especially in the name of education, which the lottery is used to fund. Students should be able to go to class without the knowledge that their history textbook was paid for with the blood of the desperate working-class.