Does the Lottery Target Low-Income Communities?
The lottery is a game of chance in which people purchase tickets in exchange for cash. While the number of winners in any given drawing is not known, it is recorded in many ancient documents. The practice of drawing lots for rights became common in Europe in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In the United States, the lottery was first linked to the government in 1612 when King James I of England established a lottery to help the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. Today, the lottery has become a major source of funds for many public and private organizations in the United States. The game is now operated by state and local governments, and the vast majority of purchases are made at retail outlets contracted with the lottery.
The lottery has many benefits. The lottery can provide the winner with a house, a kindergarten placement, and a large cash prize. The National Basketball Association holds a lottery each year to determine the draft picks for their 14 worst teams. The winning team gets to select the top college talent in the country. This practice is not new. The idea is that a small percentage of the population can win a prize and the winning lottery will give that person the chance to make a fortune.
The NGISC report did not find any evidence to prove that lottery operators intentionally target poor people. This would be unwise from both a political and business perspective. In addition, the report did not explain why people buy lottery tickets in areas where they do not live. Many higher-income consumers pass through neighborhoods with low-income residents and rarely see a lottery outlet. This makes it even more illogical to claim that a lottery targets low-income communities.