Ambrose Bierce defined the lottery as “a tax on people who are bad at math,” but it’s really a tax on the dreams of the poor.
Last year, Americans spent $70 billion on state-sponsored lottery tickets, more than on books, video games, movies and sporting events combined. The poorest third of households buy half of all lottery tickets, and state lotteries advertise most aggressively in poor neighborhoods, Derek Thompson points out in The Atlantic.
“It’s not that poor people don’t understand that the lottery has a near-zero chance of making them dynastically wealthy. It’s that they think everything else has an actually-zero chance. …. State lotteries, in other words, don’t just prey on poor people’s dreams—they do that for everyone—but rather on desperate dreams.”
— “Why you should never, ever play the lottery,” Matt O’Brien, Washington Post