Pastor Perry Noble recently posted an article on buying a lottery ticket. Well, not A lottery ticket; he bought ten. Then, he spends his time in the piece defending his purchase of the lottery tickets because, hey, sombody’s got to win. He may be technically right; somebody will win the jackpot, but millions and millions of people lose with every ping pong ball pulled. You can read his piece here. This defense of the lottery is uniformed and completely ignorant of who the lottery attacks and damages. Also, his metaphors and illustration are appalling.
Pastor Noble does ask that we spare him the gambling lectures, so I will. First, he says is “Is gambling bad. Yep, but sex can be well!! Do we get rid of that too?” The answer to that Pastor Noble is yes! The bible gives clear guidlines and has a design for the celebration and enjoyment of sex. Sex done in God’s design is wonderful. Read Song of Songs. Sex done outside of God’s design is damaging, and yes, people would be blessed by getting rid of sex outside of God’s design. I am off point, but I am always bothered by manipulative metaphors which is all that is.
Next, he states that the impoverished people that get into financial trouble with the lottery have a deeper issue, and if they did not blow their money on the lottery, they would blow their money on something else. My answer is yes, like bread, milk, and diapers. People are not going to buy comic books and board games when their kids are starving. They buy escape through drugs, alcohol, and lottery tickets. I have never had a person in my office at church asking for financial aid because they blew their pay check on baseball cards. I have with alcohol, drugs, gambling including lottery tickets.
The impoverished blow their money on the lottery because most see it as the only way out of their desperate situation. The poor play the lottery more when their financial situation is worse because they are so tired of being desperate. The poor play the lottery more than any other demographic. This has been proven through numerous studies. The lottery doesn’t just damage the impoverished. It systematically preys upon them, with billions spent on commercials encouraging the lottery as a path out of poverty with slogans like Pastor Noble uses, “sombody’s got to win.”
Also, there is far more than just scratchers and ping pong balls involved in the lottery. There are video gambling games that are a part of state lotteries. Where are these video machines placed? In convenient stores! Successful lawyers, doctors, business women are not going to sit on a stool at the local Slurp-N-Go playing video slots. They are placed in convenient stores because the lottery knows who is playing and specifically targets them. The impoverished will sit on a stool and use their pay check trying desperately to make ends meet.
Pastor Noble is correct. They do have a deeper issue. A multi-billion dollar state run entity is targeting the money of the impoverished, manipulating their desperation to draw them in with a false hope. It is beyond discusting. It is purely evil. If a corporation ran itself like the lottery, the government would shut it down in a heart beat. The government clearly realizes the danger of a monopoly. That is why monopolies are outlawed across this country. Healthy competition breeds fairness for the consumer. The government has a monopoly on the lottery, and the lack of competition has led to the absolute abuse of the consumer.
1 in 5 people believe the lottery is the most practical path to weath. I am sure Pastor Noble and his ilk would call these folks silly or uneducated, and that brings me to my next point. Yes, if you think the lottery is a logical path to wealth, you are uneducated. Many lottery supporters champion the fact that it raises money for education. Here in Georgia, where I live, the lottery funds the HOPE scholarship. In states that use the lottery to support education, did you know that studies show that after an initial boost, overtime the lottery gives a miniscule boost to education if it gives a boost at all.
Also, those states that use lottery money to support education reduce state funds from other sources, so the lottery is not supplemental money for education, it just becomes the source of the funds. Here is another study that shows the decrease in educational funds in lottery states. Back to my state, when Georgia realized that lottery funds could not cover the demand for HOPE scholarships. The state did not look for other revenue sources. They raised the merits to receive the scholarship, so that many students could not attain it. In doing so, technical schools saw a drop in new students by 24%.
Studies show that the ones that benefit from lottery funds are wealthier familes. The lottery has become a system that redistributes wealth from the poor to the more wealthy. That again is discusting. Study One. Study Two. Lastlty, states without a lottery over time have increased their educational spending compared to lottery states. They spend on average 10% more on education that states with a lottery. So much for the argument that schools win with the lottery.
These impoverished folks that Pastor Noble declares has a deeper issue. He may be right, but the lottery states are not improving education to deal with whatever Pastor Noble thinks this deeper issue is, and the lottery is clearly, clearly exploiting it.
Pastor Noble completes his blog by revealing that he doesn’t even understand how the lottery works when his says to his critics, “you will not be buying any tickets, thus increasing my odds of winning!” There are the same number of ping pong balls and numbers. No matter how many people play, your odds of winning are the same…infinitesimal.
“Somebody has got to win” has been a terrible attitude that has ignored the damage to the educational system in lottery states and the clear targeted exploitation of the impoverished. “Sombody has got to win” is an attitude that ignores the millions of poor that are loosing and the million of students that are loosing with every card scratched, video screen swiped, hole punched, and ping pong ball pulled. Educational funding is down in lottery states. That is a fact. The poor are pushed farther below the poverty line. That, also, is a fact.
Is it time we drop our ho hum attitude toward the lottery and start opening our eyes to who is loosing because again it is the poor and the students of our country.