Comments about ‘In our opinion: Mega Millions aside, lotteries are bad public policy’

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Published: Thursday, Dec. 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

Well OK, lotteries are a regressive tax in essence. Do you care about regressive sales taxes or regressive property taxes or regressive FICA taxes? No? So why to do get excited by it in the case of lotteries? Answer: you only care about regressivity here because you believe lotteries are per se immoral.

Bountiful, UT

One problem with lotteries is they become a substitute for savings and investing.

River Dog
Salt Lake City, UT

Well, guess we don't have to worry about loltteries here in Utah. If those with little funds didn't spend money on lottery tickets, there would be something else to spend it on of equal value. I know I'll never when the lottery when I do get a chance to play it, but it feels good to dream a little. If you spend over five dollars a month on lotteries, you better check in to a rehab clinic.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

This is grossly unfair to the less fortunate in this country and we should demand that the President and the democrats in congress remedy this situation. Those with all the money are not paying their fair share and this is placing a burden on those who can least afford it.
We should demand free lottery tickets for all and there should also be better odds of winning, after all it is guaranteed by the constitution as a pursuit of happiness. Once again the rich are using loopholes to avoid doing the right thing.

Bountiful, UT

A major problem with lotteries, is they divert peoples attention away from savings and investment.

Bountiful, UT

Perhaps here is a method to migate the damage lotteries cause and help ensure that people who ought not buy lottery tickets aren't.

Require that people pass a back ground check to be able to win. A winning ticket would only be valid if the person is not struggling with debt. Is not on public assistance or assistance of friends or relatives. Their children are not suffering because of the parents financial condition. Once these concerns are certified as being taken care of, then people can get a time limited permit that would allow them to win the lottery.

clearfield, UT

They may be bad public policy but they are good tax revenue for states. The only problem I see with the lottery is that only one or two people win a huge jackpot, like just happened. I wish that maybe after the amount reaches a certain number, say 100 million, that the odds could be changed so that maybe 10 different winners become possible. Instead of two people winning half a billion, wouldn't it be better if 50 people could have split that pot? If that happened, you would probably get 10 times the amount of people buying tickets, because the odds would not be so impossible. In any case I see the lottery as a voluntary contribution to a state tax fund, which has a very slim chance of a huge rebate. I don't think the lottery is the evil that many try to claim it is. Especially if you want to help out your states school system or other financial needs.

Everett, 00

I disagree.

Because of the gravitation of the wealth going to the 1%,
a person has a better chance of winning a lottery than he/she has of working hard and making it.

Besides -- I trusted my leaders and invested everything I had into my education and my house.
Turns out -- that was the stupidest thing I could have ever done!

My dying hope is that there is a just God,
who will see to it that the Gadianton's on WallStreet and the politicians who cator to them get their just rewards!

Hayden, ID

The author is correct. Too many lottery tickets are purchased with money that should have gone to pay rent, groceries or medicines. Lotteries create no new wealth, no new jobs and only exacerbates poverty and increases food stamp and other welfare recipients at tax payer expense. Amazingly lotteries are run by the government but it harms people, families and nations!

Bountiful, UT

Lotteries are a microcosm of our economic system, as seen from the underclass.

I work with a lot of immigrants, who see the various slimey - but entirely legal - entities that prey on the poor, such as payday lenders, unforgiving landlords who use the letter of the law and the fine print in agreements to extract fines and punishments, and their conclusion is that "you make money whatever way you can, and the law is meant to protect people who are rich".

Immigrants hear people above them complaining about excessive CEO pay, and they conclude the whole system is a sham, and the acquisition of money - by any means - is legitimate. That's the game. Fast talking salesmen and lawyers are the tools of the wealthy to just keep building up bigger and bigger piles of cash.

So, lotteries become a kind of religious hope, a faith that they, too, can make it big and drive nice cars and not have a care in the world.

I agree with the D-News that lotteries are a bad idea, but we should learn a lesson or two about how they've impacted behavior and thinking. It's not pretty.

Far East USA, SC

"Amazingly lotteries are run by the government but it harms people, families and nations!"

Ah, the evil government. But, this is state government. Isn't that where the decision making should be made?

Utah has every right to refuse to institute a lottery. It is a state choice.

So, is Sheldon Adelson "harming people, families and nations!"?

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Nanny State.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Oh for crying out loud!

A lottery is a TAX,
and a "volunteer", non-compulsive tax at that.

You would think conservatives would be ALL over this,
but to them it is a "sin".

Tell you,
why don't we just call it for what it is, a "sin tax".

BTW -- 1 other thing...

This is a STATE issue.
Utah doesn't even have a lottery.

So, why do Utahans in Utah keep insist on telling other people, in other states what to do?

St George, Utah

Mountainman is correct as far as he goes. The money spent could also go to the Govt as an involuntary tax or a church as a voluntary tax

clearfield, UT

Open Minded Mormon

One of those rare times you and I agree.

The lottery is exactly that. A tax. A voluntary tax that people can or cannot pay. If someone is stupid enough to spend food or rent money on the lottery, they will be that stupid in spending it on other things. Like going to Wendover or Vegas. We can't nanny state everyone from their own bad judgements. Here in Utah, they lose millions of dollars to the Idaho lottery. I'm sure the government and people of Idaho love it.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Anyone who wants something for nothing (or for the price of a lottery ticket) is a blight on society. Every successful person knows that prosperity comes from taking risk or working hard, sometimes both. Reward follows effort. "Blessings" without "responsibilities" only guarantees failure.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

IMO lotteries are a tax. A tax on the most desperate people in society.

Who doesn't know poor people who in desperation to get out of their situation put money that should have been used for food or rent into the lottery in hopes of getting out of their desperate situation?

But all we get on TV are the happy stories.

They never tell the story of the people who used their family's last dollar or even borrowed money and spent it on the lottery in hopes of winning... and didn't win.

There are thousands of sad lottery stories for every winning story. But I guarantee you the only story we will hear is the happy one.


I don't think we should have a lottery in Utah, because I see it as a tax on the most vulnerable populations we have. True... some people who can afford to be throwing their money away also participate. But if they want to help the government or education that bad.... they can just give their money to the government. We should NOT be tempting poor people to throw their money away.

South Jordan, UT

Close minded Mormon: Where in the article did the author tell other people what to do? Should be also suppose that you are telling people what to do when you make comments on here? In fact, why do you keep insisting on telling other people what to do?

Airnaut: So you think you have better chances at winning the lottery instead of working hard and making it. By your own accounting, those who have made it constitute only 1% of the population. What do you calculate the odds are of winning the lottery? In order to make your math work, this most recent lottery of $600M+ must have had fewer than 200 entrants since only 2 people won and that would yield 1% winners. The other flaw is that making it is a lot different than being in the top 1% of the population. I feel like I made the climb from utter poverty to success and I'm well short of the top 1%. Great rhetoric, bad math.

Marxist: What regressive sales tax and property tax are you talking about? Those are flat rate taxes which are neither regressive nor progressive by definition.

Everett, 00

South Jordan, UT

Airnaut: So you think you have better chances at winning the lottery instead of working hard and making it.


You are so myopic.

If you bought 1 ticket for the powerball, your chances were 1 in 175,000,000
If I had taken the $50,000 I spent on college,
and the $350,000 I just lost in Real Estate,
and bought 400,000 tickets, the chances were 1 in 437.

If I just played a simple weekly drawing in Idaho for - say $1 million,
my changes would be better than 50/50.

But the sad fact of life because GW Bush was the President of the United States,
My odds of working hard for 30 years and being able to retire turned out to be ZERO.

South Jordan, UT

airnaut: Amazing! Simply because I personally know scores of people (including my children) who flourished between 1981-2007. I know people who suffered through the late 80s (Democratic white house and democratic congress) and many who have suffered layoffs and financial struggles since then (Democratic congress in 2006 followed by Democratic congress and white house in 2008).

You can try to make this your personal political platform to vent your angst against Republicans in general and Bush specifically but history does not support your arguments. What it really sounds like is that the problem may have been you instead of the system since millions of others have been successful through hard work and education.

So have fun blaming others for your problems. If it makes you feel better and adds to your happiness, it's no skin off my nose. That seems to be a pattern with certain types of people. I like to call them Democrats.

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