Lawmakers pretend that lotteries make new taxes unnecessary. But lotteries are a tax, an inefficient, badly targeted one that is having a devastating impact on poor communities and beyond.
These new super lotteries are especially dangerous. One study in Texas showed the more expensive tickets selling best in the most poverty-stricken ZIP codes, ones heavily populated with Hispanics and blacks. Money that should be used for food and housing goes up in a whiff of hope instead.
They can dress it up all they want in slogans about buying a ticket and a dream. But the states are encouraging behavior that is too often addictive and ruinous for people who can least handle the burden.
The Super Lottery Is No Prize