This essay sample on The Lure Of Lottery Summary provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
The Lure of the Lottery “The modern experience of state-run lotteries in this country begins with New Hampshire in 1964. In a story that would be repeated across the country, New Hampshire faced a difficult choice: either raise taxes or institute a lottery” (Haugen). Since 1964 a myriad of states have been inclined to induce state lotteries to bring in a greater amount of revenue for their individual states.
While state lotteries may be a method for converting individual contributions into works of collective good, they are about as inefficient a way as could be designed.
State lotteries do whatever it takes (i. e. sophisticated advertising, specialized marketing techniques, clever slogans) to sell their product. They do this even when it means misleading players about their odds of winning, introducing more addictive games that aggressively target the poor, and look away while minors gamble.
The fact that state lotteries have the lowest odds of winning of any form of gambling is never stated in the countless advertisements states have about their lotteries. “According to the U. S.
Council on Compulsive Gambling, fewer than 50% of state-run lotteries disclose their odds in print advertising, and only 25% do so in television ads” (Bayer). Unless state law requires the lottery to disclose the true odds of winning, and few do, lottery advertisements generally overstate or obscure the chances of winning, in order to make the worst bet in gambling seem attractive.
Lotteries are regulated only by the state governments themselves, which are the same state governments that depend on lottery profits to increase their revenues. Although commercial sweepstakes operators like Publisher’s Clearinghouse are governed by the Federal Trade Commission’s truth-in-advertising rules, Congress has exempted state lotteries from such restraints” (Nelson). State governments are not only hurting their citizens by using deceitful advertising, they are also hurting themselves. The deceptive and corrosive nature of lottery advertising contributes to a general distrust for the word of government officials. As if states running general advertisements were not enough, the state lotteries have now turned to sending direct mail. In addiction to running ads, some states even conduct direct-mail campaigns, sending coupons for free tickets via mail” (Shenk). State lottery advertisements are not only dishonest, but most are aimed specifically at those most likely to gamble on lotteries; the poor. State lotteries prey upon the most vulnerable; those with smaller amounts of disposable income that spend a greater proportion of their earnings on lotteries. “Lottery ads prey on a sense of economic hopelessness, claiming to offer a real chance of financial success; a chance that work and saving, the messages seem to suggest, cannot provide” (Gearey).
The ubiquitous promotion of lotteries, equate success with luck rather than work, thus undermining a fundamental societal norm. State lotteries are the antithesis of the American dream. They are mechanisms by which the state seduces its most vulnerable citizens with the promise of riches, suckering them into gambling away their income and their unemployment checks on games that offer an almost infinitesimal chance of winning big. Lotteries also prey on the poor by timing ads to coincide with monthly welfare and Social Security checks. “Charles T. Clotfelter and Philip J.
Cook report that an advertising plan for Ohio’s SuperLotto read: ‘Schedule heavier media weight during those times where consumer disposable income peaks… Government benefits, payroll, and Social Security payments are released on the first Tuesday of each calendar month’” (Gearey). This shows the devious nature of state officials that has lead to innumerable social implications implemented by state lotteries. During economic downturns, people increase their spending on lotteries and other risky ventures, even when they really can not afford to do so. Lotteries and other forms of gambling encourage a ‘get-rich-quick’ mentality that induces other forms of risky behavior. Gambling discourages hard work, encourages greed and materialism, and leads to compulsive gamblers who are more prone to divorce and suicide” (Parvez). The more state lotteries that are induced and the more they advertise, the higher the crime rate in the United States will become. “William A. Glaston and David Wasserman’s study found that lotteries lead to an increase in crime” (Parvez). While crime and lotteries go hand-in-hand, another dynamic of any vice is progression.
A jaded addict is always looking for a stronger fix. To keep players’ interest and to attract new ones, lotteries have developed a barrage of different games. These games are meant to be more stimulating, and more addictive, than the basic lotteries. State lotteries also contribute to increases in the the overall number of gambling addicts. “Gamblers also have a hard time kicking the habit: of the 80 participants followed for 12 months, 92% experienced relapse” (Parvez). Once state lotteries brain wash people into believing they will win or even have a fathomable chance of winning, they are hooked on gambling for life. Among academics there is a heated debate about the higher rates of pathological and problem gambling among teens and young adults. Some say younger people will have a larger and more permanent problem with gambling than older generations, due to an explosion of addiction fed by easier availability and the erosion of social sanctions against gambling” (Nesbitt). States are not only promoting their lotteries to the older generations with their advertising and pervasive sales, they are unintentionally targeting children and young adults. The most egregious example of lotteries ducking their responsibilities has been selling tickets to minors.
It is illegal in every state for anyone under the age of eighteen to gamble, “but a recent survey of fifteen to eighteen-year-olds in Minnesota showed that 20% have purchased lottery tickets themselves and 8% had another underage friend buy tickets for them” (Geary). The recent proliferation of instant ticket vending machines has made it nearly impossible for state lotteries to monitor who is buying the tickets. The presence of lottery tickets alongside candy and chips in neighborhood convenience stores places children and teens directly in contact with gambling. In 1997, researchers from Louisiana State University Medical School found that 86% of the twelve thousand sixth through twelfth-graders they studied had gambled. 6% met the measure of the pathological gambling, and 16% fit the profile of problem gamblers” (Nesbitt). States are bypassing their culpability to protect and advise children and teens to not partake in their lotteries, which begs the question as to if states are being ethical in their attempts to reap in profits from the lotteries. At issue is not the constitutionality of legalized gambling, but the uestionable ethics of state governments sponsoring and exploiting their citizens’ vices to raise revenue. Although governments also raise revenue from other “sinful” activities like the consumption of alcohol, pornography, or tobacco, lotteries are perhaps the only vice that governments “manufacture” and encourage. States also cut themselves a bigger break than they allow other forms of gambling, for instance, “according to Rick Rolapp, spokesman for the American Horse Council, state governments mandate, on average, a payout for permitted wagering on horses of about 80%, when lotteries have only a 49% payout on average” (Bayer).
State officials are not only promoting their lotteries through advertising and unfairly mandating less of a payout for themselves as other forms of legal gambling, but they are also encouraging lottery referendums. Far from discouraging gambling, some states faced with large budget deficits actually seek to make more forms of gambling available. It has been apparent over the last few years, compulsive gamblers are not the only ones who are addicted: given the general anti-tax atmosphere, state officials have come to depend on lottery revenues in their budgeting. Many states now view lottery money as ‘painless taxation. ’ According to the National Conference of State Legislators, the lottery is now the predominant new revenue source for state governments” (Bayer). Most lottery referendums are promoted by state legislators and the lottery industry. Legislators who favor lotteries are looking for a new revenue source without the political cost of a tax increase. “Lured by the promise of tourists and revenue, governments around the country are dropping moral qualms about gambling and approving the one tax we still pay with a smile” (Olinger).
By raising revenues through lotteries the “easy way,” public officials bypass an important step in political accountability. The decisions about taxation provide an occasion for debating the proper functions and objects of government. “It is true that lottery profits go to state treasuries, but so do taxes. Taxes are also honestly raised and reflect community decisions about how to fairly distribute burdens and responsibilities” (Shenk). No one is really in the lottery business to help the elderly, improve the schools, or save endangered species; those are just the sugar that make state-sponsored gambling seem easier to swallow. In many states, legislators estimate lottery profits for the coming year and then reduce the existing education budget by that amount, so education funds do not actually increase” (Gearey). Most states say their lotteries help increase money for education, but it is apparently not true in most cases. Today’s lotteries have evolved into the opposite of what they were intended to be. In the early days of the country, lotteries were even more commonplace than they are today. They were sponsored by the states and held as needed, financing such projects as reconstructing Faneuil Hall in Boston and buildings on the campuses of Harvard and Yale.
With the reputation of state lotteries being so malevolent, it would be thought that state officials would want to change how they are run, but “at a recent industry convention that included officials from every state lottery, it was clear that reform was not really at the top of the agenda” (Gearey). State lotteries are immensely unethical, cause numerous social implications, and provide for an abrasive skepticism of government principles. It is increasingly palpable that there needs to be an end to the lotteries all together. Works Cited