A preacher once told me he saw a billboard for treatment of gambling addiction near a lottery sign. Think there may be a relationship?
There’s a lot of hot air being expelled in Idaho as the state readies to leave the Powerball lottery. It’s one of two multi-state games and people are most likely simply going to spend more on Mega Millions, the other half of the multi-state gambling tandem. Lottery backers fear a loss of revenue for state schools without Powerball. Critics take a wider view and insist the games are corrupting.
Lotteries were common in an unregulated colonial America and many were run by unsavory characters.
Lotteries were common in an unregulated colonial America and many were run by unsavory characters. I get the libertarian argument about spending my money any way I choose but lotteries operated by mobsters are dangerous. So we get state run gambling. When I was a boy government run lotteries were still rare but once a few states got addicted to the revenue a great many others clambered on board. Government expansion needs a steady stream of dollars.
I was at an event in the early 1990s with the late Ross Perot. He framed lotteries as a tax on the poor. So many believe a roll of the dice or a winning ticket is their only route out of poverty. I later shared Perot’s comment with a bookmaker. “It’s a tax on the stupid,” was his response.
Here’s the thing. How much sin should government promote? Franklin Roosevelt was the leader of the movement to repeal prohibition. He liked evening cocktails and more importantly, his New Deal needed liquor taxes.
We’ve got a federal government 30 trillion dollars in debt. This is going to eventually impact state and local governments when Washington goes broke. What follows? Will billboards encourage the use of brothels? Will we be encouraged to smoke more legalized weed?
The preacher who shared the one story answered the questions for me. When we lowered standards for gambling we opened the gate for all the rest.
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