Lottery: Any better way to spend $56 billion?

By Guest Opinion,

The $640 million jackpot came and went and does anyone feel any better? I didn’t think so.

Last Friday, my local Portland Fred Meyer had 20 people standing in line to get tickets hours before the deadline, “The highest ever” said the clerk. Unfortunately, the aftermath of the recent lottery mania is not pretty. Three people won, but none have dared come forward. Maryland lottery officials have been inundated with false calls. Experts predict a flood of lawsuits no matter who comes forward.

People focus on the $640 million but fail to realize that Americans had to waste $1.46 billion to create that jackpot. Some goes to worthy state programs and charity. Yet by sheer numbers , the lottery is appears to be the worst dilution of a charity dollar imaginable. Part of every dollar goes to administration and advertisement and a giant share goes out to total strangers. This system makes legitimate charity look bad. CBS News reports that total lottery funds bringing in $56 billion last year alone. Is there not a better way to spend $1.6 billion?

One Baltimore woman alleged to have won the big prize has been outed by her own friends who say they have been betrayed. USA Today reports, all of them work at McDonalds and agreed to pool their money into several tickets. The worker who bought the tickets came back and basically said that everyone lost except that she won with the ticket she bought on her own. No one believes her and everyone is furious.

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