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Casinos and state lotteries are the most predatory business in America and their windfall is coming at your expense.
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Once again Massachusetts tops the lottery sales charts with sales over $5 billion last year. The individual sales average was $740 per capita, with 50 communities (lower incomes) topping $1000 per capita. A total of $3.6 billion was paid out in prizes, regressively of course, with a few big winners and thousands of free tickets which were mostly losers. $985.8 million was returned to the towns and cities as unrestricted aid,
Sadly, the distribution system is inherently unfair. The distribution is based on population and median home values, and not on lottery ticket sales. The poorest communities that sell the most tickets per capita may be far down the list of recipients. Little goes to meet the needs of those who are addicted to the Lottery.
Lotteries are the vilest, most predatory of all gambling venues, As Les Bernal was quoted, “The $30 dollar scratch ticket is a Hail Mary investment strategy for poor people that seldom works out.”
Kentucky Poverty Rankings: a simple analysis you can do
The following data comes from www.statehealthfacts.kff.org. This is the Henry J, Kaiser Family Foundation website which contains a variety of health facts for the states. For context there are several demographic comparisons as well. I have selected some that reveal Kentucky’s status as a midsize state that is mired in poverty.
Kentucky’s population is 4,115,700 which ranked 23rd, up two places since 2007 when it was 25th. The gross state product has been increasing to $183,273,000,000 which ranks 27th, which despite increasing has slipped down one place. This is quite good for a state that has sizable numbers living in poverty.
The percentage living in poverty is 20% with only four states ranking lower: Louisiana, Arizona, Mississippi and West Virginia. This continues Kentucky’ slide: from 34th in 2000 to 40th in 2007 to 46th currently. The percentage below twice the poverty level, called low income, is 19% which when combines leads to 39% with low income or living in poverty, ranking ahead of only Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and West Virginia. As would be expected the number in poverty and low income leads to a median household income of $42,786 above only four states. The division between the wealthy and the poor is greater than in nearly all the other states.
A good percentage of Kentuckians are employed (only 5% not employed), high enough to rank 22nd, but at lower wages. Less favorably, the state budget shortfall of $37,000,000 in 2013 also ranked as 22nd highest. Another symptom of poverty was that the amount spent on healthcare, despite low wages, was $28,948,000,000 which ranked 26th and was up $6 billion since 2007, and was more than the state budget. Total enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP programs was 606,805, down 237,000 since 2007, and which ranked 27th highest. This would be considered good news since Kentucky was 23rd highest in 2007.
You can do the same analysis for your state with the www.statehealthfacts.kff.org website. I did have the benefit of doing this in 2007 and could thus compare and see the change. The most basic change in the Kentucky picture is the introduction of three casinos operating with Instant Racing Machines. The courts have let the case against their legality roll on for five years removing hundreds of millions from the functioning economy and placing it is the hands of the tracks and wealthy horse owners.
Legalized sports gambling is playing a large role in corrupting popular sports
This editorial by The Nation declares legalized sports gambling operators play an equal if not greater role in corrupting popular sports than illegal, underground gambling.
Sports gambling apps target users as young as 13 years old
This Market Watch article outlines the move by app developers to tap into the large and growing U.S. sports gambling market by developing ‘freemium’ models for users as young as 13 years old. These models include no purchase required apps where users must view advertising to enter pools and free virtual currency based apps.
Study shows citizens reduce their spending on key household items when they play the lottery
This paper by Univ. of Maryland Professor Economics Melissa Kearney reveals that household lottery spending is financed primarily by a reduction in non-gambling expenditures, not by a reduction in expenditures on other forms of gambling. The introduction of a state lottery is associated with an average decline of $46 per month, or 2.4 percent, in household non-gambling expenditures. Low-income households reduce non-gambling household expenditures by 2.5 percent on average, 3.1 percent when the state lottery includes instant games.
The Lottery is a tax, an inefficient, regressive, and exploitive tax
Max Galka of Metrocosm compiled data from the New Your State Lottery which illustrates the deceptive methods used by the state governments to advertise, distribute revenues, reveal expenses and inflate ticket costs. He also goes on to explain why it is not a tax on the stupid but a tax on addicts and their families.
2015 New life for Aksarben neighborhood in Omaha
Redevelopment of the former site of the Aksarben Racetrack and Coliseum has moved very quickly and successfully. The mixed use 70 acre development project includes restaurants, retail and office buildings, apartments and townhouses, hotels, a fitness center, a movie theater and a park with an ampitheater. In addition, the University of Nebraska at Omaha has developed adjacent properties working closely with the community to revitalize the surrounding areas as well.
State Lotteries and Consumer Behavior
This report revealed that household lottery spending is financed primarily by a reduction in non-gambling expenditures, not by a reduction in expenditures on other forms of gambling. The introduction of a state lottery is associated with an average decline of $46 per month, or 2.4 percent, in household nongambling expenditures. Low-income households reduce non-gambling household expenditures by 2.5 percent on average, 3.1 percent when the state lottery includes instant games. This report was complied by Melissa Schettini Kearney at the Wellesley College and National Bureau of Economic Research.