The $50 Lottery ticket: Where is the outrage?

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

I've never understood the rationale behind the Lottery. If gambling isn't a bad deal for society, then why isn't it legal? And if it is bad for society, then why is the state using it as a revenue source? It looks like the cops busting up backroom card games aren't promoting law and order: They're protecting a state-run monopoly.

Even if you accept the idea that the Lottery isn't inherently exploitative of those who can least afford it, I hope you'll agree with me on this: A $50 scratch ticket is insane and extremely exploitative. But today's New York Timesreports on the rise of scratch tickets priced at $20 or higher and Texas, the state where everything is bigger, has a $50 scratch ticket -- The $130 Million Spectacular.

Of course, all lotteries urge people to "please play responsibly". But I have to wonder: How many people are in a position where it is responsible for them to buy $50 Lottery tickets, especially in this period of record foreclosures and soaring consumer debt in the face of a sub-zero savings rate.

In Texas, the median income is $52,355, according to the US Census Bureau. If the median family bought one $50 lottery ticket each week, playing the lottery would consume $2600 per year -- 5% of its annual income, before any winnings it might have.

And as if that's not bad enough, we know that most frequent Lottery players are not from median income families. A University of Texas study commissioned by the Lottery (required by law) found that players with an annual income of less than $12,000 spend 33 percent more a month than those with incomes above $100,000.

I would like to know what percentage of purchasers of $50 lottery tickets the Texas Lottery Commission believes are playing responsibly -- I'd also like to know whether they care.

Read Full Story

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners