The Ass in the Hole — the Lottery

March 30, 2012

In a world pretty-much gone crazy, the most-stupid is the lottery and even worse is the dumb-ass people who play it.
Tonight, the so-called Mega Millions has more than $540 million up for the demented to slobber over, spend money they don’t have for a fortune they’ll never get,  and even giggle insanely as they lose.
A goodly portion of those players are pure assholes.
And a good portion are delusional, thin-skinned, self-centered assholes.

The lottery is the biggest scam in public view right now — maybe even beyond the GOP presidential race.

(Illustration found here).

I manage a liquor store, where along with the normal fare of booze, cigarettes and the assorted unhealthy byproducts, we also sale lottery tickets — the way-least profit maker and by far the most-labor intensive.
All those news clips you’ve seen in recent days showing clerks dolling out lottery tickets does not in any form or fashion display how those clerks actually feel — they hate it with a passion, and most-likely they also hate your sorry ass for wasting their time.

Just about every crook of the curveball come through our doors every day, drinkers, smokers, tokers, and shitload of asshole jokers, but nothing, however, carries an unnatural feel to it, an oily, moisture-appeal to it, like the lottery.
And it’s way-way-really creepy — the kind of shit-thing Stephen King would cook up in a short story.
The process reminds me of an old Twilight Zone episode, ‘To Serve Man,’ in which humanity gets eaten — “It’s a cookbook!”

People involved in the lottery are strange and creepy, very thin-skinned and easily provoked into displays of emotional outrage.
If you (or anyone you know) play the lottery on any kind of regular basis, you, or that person should go to a quiet place and think hard about how you think about stuff.
The lottery is probably the exact mirror of crime in plain sight.

The California Lottery was established in 1984 with Prop 37 and was touted that it not only supported eduction in the state, but the operation brought in customers who would spend money on profit-making merchandise — wrong!
This week, in the wake of the chum-feeding, bloody, shark-infested frenzy of the Mega Millions, our actual bottom line has not been helped — the recession has cut business here by $2,000 to $3,000 a month and right now we’re in what I call the ‘winter trough,’ which won’t improve until about spring break.
The lottery is way-more a pain in the asshole.

And a real public problem.

The late great Andy Rooney from a couple of years ago:

What I always want to read is stories about lottery losers, there never are any.
There ought to be a law making it compulsory for anyone who reports the name of the winner of a lottery, to also give the name of all the losers.
The names would be followed by the amount each person lost — just the way they give the amount the winner got.
Lotteries usually pay out less than half of what is bet.
It’s the worst odds of any gambling operation.
You see people buying lottery tickets all the time and it’s obvious that most lottery money comes from the poorest people.
They don’t look too smart either.
Some of them cash their unemployment checks and buy lottery tickets with that money.
Then they need more help from the rest of us.
There was a National Gambling Impact Study and in every one of the 48 States that has gambling — only Utah and Hawaii don’t — the people who make the least gamble the most.
Lower income people in Massachusetts, for example, spent 15 times as much on gambling as people who make a decent living.

And despite the odds.
This the most-popular saying: ‘You’ll have a greater chance of getting struck by lightening than winning the lottery.’
But this, the oddest take on the odds of winning: Still, it’s a lot more likely that you will be legally executed than win the lottery. In fact, you are 30,000 percent to 200,000 percent more likely to die in a legal execution than to win the lottery.

Players push the education angle, but that’s a $3 bill.
Off a lotteries report from the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and Florida’s lottery: Gary Landry, spokesman for the Florida Education Association, says “We’ve been hurt by our lottery…The state has simply replaced general revenues with lottery money – at a time when enrollments are increasing. It’s a big shell game.”
Here in California, despite the so-called lottery ‘donations,’ schools are hurting as budget shortfalls have brought spending on public schools to a historic low, relative to most of the US.
Supposedly, although the last fiscal year the lottery contributed $1.1 billion to California schools — the San Diego Unified School District could face a state take-over, while the entire education sector awaits a $1.7 billion cut that may wipe out high-school sports and student busing, and trim the academic calendar by seven days next year.
Economics is a much-hard education.

The LA Times reported this morning that California education honchos estimate $100 million from the Mega Millions jackpot, but the real news in the story is at the bottom:

But Palmer (State Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer) cautioned that the $1.2 billion in state lottery revenue is already figured into the budget, which is projected to fall woefully short of school needs.
The spike in lottery sales will give schools a boost, but even profits from the record-setting $540 million jackpot will only make a tiny dent in the budget shortfall.
“Lottery revenues do contribute to the state’s general fund budget, but to put it in perspective, K-12 expenditures are projected to be $39.2 billion,” Palmer said.
The $100 million windfall from this jackpot will make up less than 1 percent of that amount.

In Georgia, the lottery is even worse — Bloomberg News says that state’s lottery players are the biggest suckers in a nation of pure-bred suckers — the ‘Sucker Index‘ as it were:

“You’re taking from those with few means and helping those with more means,” Charles Clotfelter, a Duke University economics professor, said from Durham, North Carolina.
“To link that tax revenue to a benefit that goes largely to middle-and upper-class citizens is a little stunning,”
“It’s a pro-rich wealth-redistribution technique in Georgia,” Clotfelter, co-author of “Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America,” said in a telephone interview.

In a more obvious ‘Sucker Index’ display, AOL’s Daily Finance put it this way:

If you buy $1,000 worth of $1 lottery tickets on Day 1, then statistically speaking, the average lottery payout of 60 percent means you’ll have $600 left to spend on Day 2.
Spend that $600 on Day 2, and by Day 3, you’re down to $360.
Keep going, and by Day 14, you will have (on average) just $0.78 left jingling in your pocket.
In other words, two weeks of playing the lottery has left you too broke to afford a single lottery ticket.
You’ve gambled away nearly every cent you started with.

And more odds in other shit:
— Getting pregnant from a one-night stand: 1 in 20
— Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 10,000
— Dying in an airplane crash: 1 in 355,318
— Being dealt a royal flush in a given hand of poker: 1 in 655,750
— Dying from a flesh-eating bacteria: 1 in 1 million.
— Winning the California Super Lotto Jackpot: 1 in 18 million.

The lottery business has always naturally attracted crooks, and the notorious Louisiana Lottery was the last legal raffle in the country prior to the modern era.
Backed by New York gamblers in the years after the Civil War, the Louisiana company raked in millions of dollars for its bosses, who contributed only $40,000 a year to the state.
It was so corrupt that the U.S. Congress at last stepped in with a law prohibiting the use of the mails for lotteries, and in 1895 forbade lotteries in interstate commerce.

From Time magazine in May 1963 on the first legal US lottery in 70 years, just passed in New Hampshire:

Curiously enough, there was a time when lotteries and raffles in the U.S. were considered not only moral but indispensable to the nation’s growth.
In colonial days, Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton all favored lotteries as governmental revenue raisers. George Washington was an enthusiastic ticket buyer even when he was President.
The Continental Congress raised money to pay soldiers through a lottery.
Hard-pressed property owners often put their holdings on the market through lotteries, and Jefferson himself, in debt near the end of his life, appealed to the Virginia legislature for permission to run a lottery.
Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale made money through lotteries, and all the colonies — later the states — held lotteries to build bridges, roads, churches and schools.

How quaint.
Great greed has changed all that and now it’s delusion in the face of reality.
Just a bunch of deranged assholes.


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