The National Association for State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) has released sales figures for the past year for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Of the states, nine reported a decline in sales in 2003, with Delaware experiencing the sharpest decline at 6.8%. The other states, however, saw an increase with Florida, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico posting increases of 27% and 23.1%, respectively. This growth is largely due to more people playing and more prize money being distributed to lottery players.

Problem

The Lottery dehumanises its players. Instead of being people with character and social status, players are merely statistics. Race, creed, age, sex, and other factors that might determine individuality are irrelevant. While many people enjoy the occasional flutter, the lottery would be more equitable if the prize money was spread out among a large number of people. It is this dehumanising and unfairness of the Lottery that makes it such a problematic system.

Revenues

States generate a lot of money from the lottery. According to a recent study, the revenue of a state lottery exceeds the state’s general fund by $2.2 billion. Revenues from lottery operations account for two-thirds of gambling revenues in states. Other sources of lottery revenue include commercial casinos, video games, pari-mutuel wagering, and racinos. The remaining portion is given to state funds.

Unclaimed winnings

The big jackpot in the EuroMillions is the largest unclaimed lottery winning in the world, and has yet to be claimed. It was a lucky number that was picked by a person in the Stevenage and Hitchin area on 5 December 2012. That prize is now worth over $99 million USD. Another prize worth a whopping PS63.8 million was won in the US lottery by an unidentified winner. The winner of that prize claimed half of it, but did not come forward to claim the rest of his or her prize.

Retail outlets for lottery tickets

Nearly 186,000 retail outlets sell lottery tickets in the U.S. Most of these are convenience stores, while the rest include nonprofit organizations, service stations, bars, and newsstands. The lottery has been around for more than 150 years, and in 1840, nearly all states banned the lottery. However, in less than 40 years, lottery tickets returned to the national scene. Retail outlets selling lottery tickets are located in almost every state, and the most common types of retail outlets are listed below.

Improper use of lottery proceeds

While the regressivity among lower-income individuals is widely acknowledged as a major issue facing the lottery industry, it is not entirely clear how these proceeds are used. For example, some states have chosen to donate the lottery proceeds to schools, while others have allocated them to general state operations. The state of Wisconsin, for instance, is using lottery proceeds to lower property taxes. Georgia has identified several projects to allocate the lottery proceeds, including pre-kindergarten programs, college scholarships, and capital projects. Meanwhile, Florida has used lottery proceeds to fund day-to-day operating expenses, as it has reduced budgetary costs due to the recent economic crisis.

Categories