Are Governments preying on a growing part of a society praying for a way out?
How much of our after-tax dollars are returned to the government through gambling? Casinos, lotteries, scratch and win, and coming soon and strong, a whole gambit of ways to bet on sports.
What is the annual growth rate? And what is the growth rate of the dollars our government spends getting their citizens to feed their belief that they are one ticket away from their dreams?
Arms Reach of Desire
And to ensure you don't change your mind on the way to the convenience store or Main Street that desperately needs your support and foot traffic, our lottery officials are now doing everything they can to buy online or via our mobile devices. And I wonder....do people who live paycheck to paycheck have a higher propensity to buy lottery tickets and does this increase as their desperation rises? A study from the USA cites that low-income households spent nearly four times more playing the lottery than those earning $75000 or more.
What happens to lottery sales on the day that social assistance arrives?
And today as more and more people are forced to make choices between fuel for their tank or food on their table, and as they live in fear of the onslaught of bills or unforeseen circumstances, do they scratch back on the lottery or do they scratch more? Study after study has shown that lotteries are recession-proof. We have all heard the good that the lottery does in terms of funding hospitals and such, but at what cost to society? And what is the cost to an individual's psychology? This fleeting sense of imagining your freedom, only to crash to desperation after checking your numbers and returning to the true reality of your numbers.
Is gambling for many as damaging to their mental health as smoking is to their physical health? Studies have shown that the release of dopamine during gambling occurs in brain areas similar to those activated by taking drugs of abuse.
What is the answer for our cash-starved governments?
My belief is that Governments would better serve society by finding massive efficiencies in how are tax and borrowed dollars are spent. To have full transparency on how contracts are awarded and how they are executed.
Take for example Union Station in Toronto with massive time and cost overruns. John Tory was asked about the significant cost overruns at Union Station in Toronto and said “it’s a bigger investment than we thought.” Tory went on to defend the near $200 million dollars overrun by saying the investment will “pay for itself.”
Pay or Prey?
Having a responsible and accountable government will give us all the funds we need to meet our needs without having to prey on the desperation of society dreaming the impossible dream. Well, I exaggerate. It isn't impossible. If you find yourself standing in a room with 34 million people and your name is drawn - that is the odds of winning the Lotto Max jackpot.
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