Powerball is a gambling operation sponsored and operated by forty-four state governments. I have absolutely no objection to people gambling their earnings on games of chance for entertainment. But to gamble away your earnings on a government-run scam, for government’s benefit, that’s objectionable. Government wants you to think it’s a harmless form of entertainment, but it’s not. It is an illegitimate method to raise large amounts of revenue. Organizing public lotteries to raise revenue is corrupt. Moreover, government’s justification for running a gambling operation is a lie. It reminds you every day how low government will stoop to feed itself.
State-run lotteries are not scammy because operators lie about the odds. They don’t tell you anything at all about the odds. They are scammy because government outlaws every other kind of lottery as sleazy and crime-ridden, then decides it will run a public gambling operation to replace the ones it has outlawed. Whoever heard of such a thing before government decided it wanted to become the nation’s bookmaker? Would you trust someone who comes to your door or calls you on the phone and says, “I’d like to sell you a lottery ticket”? I wouldn’t. Is the nature of the transaction so different when it takes place at a convenience store?
Government generously says it wants to protect all of us from criminals who run private gambling operations, but who says they are criminals? Government! Then the same people step out with carnival-like marketing to make people go for the only legal game in town. Who would want to buy a lottery ticket if the splashy logos and bright colors didn’t get you pumped up and hopeful? Alright, once the jackpot climbs high enough, the colors don’t matter that much. Who pays for the supercharged marketing? It’s not the operators.
Have a look at the related site below. At the bottom of the left-hand menu, you see Facebook Scam and Lottery Scams. I have not clicked these links, because I don’t have any interest in them. It’s a mark of how cynical the government operators are that they pretend to protect their customers from scams. I’m sure all the lottery schemes out there really are scams, but the main reason they’re not real is that governments have ruled them illegal. The only reason government-sponsored lotteries are not scams is that the operators say they’re not! How is that for self-referential marketing? The principle is, your scam is against the law, and ours isn’t.
Yes, government actually does pay winners, so it’s not a scam in that respect. It certainly doesn’t tell you how little of your winnings you get to keep. The default payout for a large jackpot is to distribute the after tax prize as a thirty year annuity. Do you know how little that is worth compared to the face value of the prize? People lay down good money for a chance to win a fantastical prize. They just look at the face value: Powerball’s almost a billion dollars! A buying frenzy follows. Chances are the winner’s life is about to be ruined. Government walks away with a big take – enriched, and certainly not ruined.
Do not be drawn into a corrupt form of generating revenue for sanctimonious carnival barkers who wear green eye shades and post their little lottery tickets at your local store.
Powerball vs. bingo: how did we let this happen?