Those persistent people who keep prodding Utah to adopt a state lottery ought to take a close look at a new study released this week in New Jersey.
For years, critics of this method of raising state revenue have insisted that lotteries prey on the poor, offering them false hopes of quick riches.After 18 years of experience with a lottery, New Jersey finally put this criticism to the test. The upshot: the critics are right. Low-income people tend to gamble away a higher portion of their money on these games, making the lottery a tax on the poor.
The study also showed that blacks and Hispanics spend more on the lottery than whites do. Why? Undoubtedly, because such groups tend to be the poorest and most desperate.
Incredibly, despite these findings, the study recommends that New Jersey target its lottery advertising to low-income people. The recommendation, of course, makes sense only if one ignores the human misery involved in the lottery and focuses exclusively on how to gouge as much money as possible out of the people.
Instead of embracing others' mistakes, Utah should learn from them. When it comes to the lottery, the new study shows New Jersey and other states with this form of gambling have made a really big blunder.