John Oliver takes on state-sponsored lotteries, and beginning around 11:30 in the video North Carolina’s lottery gets a good going-over:
This won't surprise anyone: According to a recent study poor people spend more on lotteries than anyone else.
A recent study found that poor folks – households earning under $13,000 per year – spend about nine percent of all their income on lottery tickets, reported Consumerist.com…
In all, an estimated 20 percent of Americans are frequent players, shelling out about $60 billion a year.
The study claimed that the relatively low cost of lottery tickets – the so-called "peanuts effect" – helps explain the popularity of state lotteries.
The study also stated that poor people play because they believe a lottery ticket is their best, fairest shot at riches.
I will readily concede that it's unfortunate that the people who can least afford it play the lottery in a fruitless attempt to gain riches, but I still get irked when people call it a "tax on the poor." Taxes aren't optional (in theory at least), and lotteries are most definitely optional. Personally I think a better term for lotteries is a "pox on the poor."