The first state to offer a lottery was Colorado in 1890, and many other states followed suit. Today, the lottery is held in more than thirty states, including Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, and Virginia. The NGISC report points out that the lottery in these states is largely unregulated and is a great way to promote the product while still contributing to national and state funding. However, the NGISC report makes it clear that there is no proof that the lottery is intentionally targeting low-income communities. The majority of players opt to purchase their tickets outside of their neighborhoods. The problem with this approach is that it is difficult to gauge whether a person is genuinely buying the ticket because the prize amount is so small.
While the lottery is a great way to increase government revenue, it’s also important to remember that the public doesn’t have to play to win. A lotteries’ fungibility means that the proceeds from winnings can be used for a variety of purposes. The New York Times recently featured an article on the topic. It also noted that the lottery system can be a source of frustration for players. Nonplayers appreciate the fact that municipal tax burdens are being shifted to the federal level and a public good. But some opponents believe that lotteries are a form of losing because the public is left uncertain.
While nonplayers perceive the lottery as a loss, legislative leaders understand the benefits of lotteries as a means to distribute tax revenues to the government. This fungibility helps legislators shift money without a lot of political risk to voters. Furthermore, the perception of effective earmarking is maintained. This perception of the lottery has many benefits. So, before we get into this topic, let us examine how a lotteries game can help in local and state politics.