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Millions of people spent millions of dollars on buying tickets in this week’s Powerball lottery drawing. And next week and every week millions of more dollars will be spent on a chance to win millions of dollars.
And some of those millions and millions of people spend a lot more money than other people do. Some will buy dozens of tickers or even more while others will buy just one each week.
And if you ask people who play the lottery every week why they do it and most will tell you that there’s a chance they could win and the money they spend goes to help schools or provide other government services that help others.
Well, not necessarily.
About 60 percent of the revenue from lottery sales goes to the winners, but of course no matter how you take it, all up front or over a period of years, half or more can ends up going to taxes that of course can be used for anything that government wants to use it on, good or bad.
And then there are the odds of winning. The chances of winning this week’s Powerball jackpot were estimated at one in 292 million. It’s been suggested that’s about the same chance you have of being bitten by a shark in the middle of Kansas.
And for those who argue that lottery ticket sales can generate more spending in the economy, the counter argument is made that people with lower incomes spend more of their money on buying lottery tickets than people with more income and then have less money to spend on buying products and services that can actually help the economy.
And as for the lottery generating billions of dollars for schools and social services, well it’s not quite what you might think.
Studies show that depending on where you live, as little as 11 cents of every dollar in lottery income goes to help schools or social services.
And that’s why some suggest the lottery is more of a gamble than a benefit.
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