An Argument For State Lotteries

Since the state of Arkansas finally passed the bill to allow a state lottery to be created, there has been a lot of talk about whether it will be a good thing or a bad thing for the state. Proponents for the bill state that the lottery will bring extra money into state funded programs like education, while those who are against the bill think they will see an increase in crime and a lowering of ethical values.

It is hard to believe that some people could actually think that a state lottery could increase crime. Has anyone ever held up a gas station for lottery tickets? Alcohol has proven a much more harmful substance than lottery tickets, and yet we still have that. In fact the only attempt the country made at prohibition was a monumental disaster. It is possible that someone would associate state lotteries with gambling and say that gambling increases crime, but the odds of winning are so ridiculously low that most people do not get addicted to the lottery, like they do gambling. It just is not reasonable to believe that a crime wave is going to start because of a state lottery.

Take a look at the states that do not have lotteries. There is Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Of these states, three of them (Alabama, Mississippi, Utah) will not pass a lottery because of religious beliefs. The irony, and hypocrisy, in that statement is that Mississippi has already legalized casino gambling. A state lottery is by far the lesser of two evils. Then there is Alaska and Hawaii (both not part of the contiguous United States) who don’t have a lottery, and there is very little interest in one. This may be due to the difference in culture. When you think of Nevada, you think of Las Vegas. Nevada continuously turns down attempts at a state lottery because they believe that it would take business away from the casinos. This has to be a joke. Casinos and state lotteries are such different approaches to gambling, it is hard to see how they could possibly encroach upon the other’s profits. Vegas make so much of their money from tourism, it is doubtful that tourist would flock to Vegas for the lottery.

State lotteries provide the state with extra revenue to make huge improvements on education, transportation, and whatever else they deem necessary. The issue shouldn’t be whether a lottery is going to lower the ethical standing of people, but how is it possible to raise the ethics of the government officials. Most people believe that, even though they say the money goes to education, it does not. It is hard to believe the government when so little progress has been seen in the area of education in the past. With so much money being spent on the lottery, one would think that our education system would be thriving. On the contrary it is faltering. Maybe we should start putting moral restrictions on our government officials instead of making lame excuses.


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