According to this article and study… poor people spend 9% of their income on lottery tickets. It just makes me wonder what percentage of income poor people in South Dakota spend on video lottery or what percentage of their income ends up in the coffers of a payday loan center.
I’m all about personal responsibility and I acknowledge that nobody is forcing these people to spend so much on various forms of gambling, but I really wonder if this is an issue that stems from a lack of financial common sense, a simple lack of education, or merely the fact that these people are so desperate to improve their life situation that they will do anything and everything to try to escape the bounds of poverty.
The study neatly illuminates the sad positive feedback loop of lotteries. The games naturally appeal to poor people, which causes them to spend disproportionate amounts of their income on lotteries, which helps keep them poor, which keeps them buying tickets.
Dave Ramsey says it best… a lottery is merely a self-imposed tax on people who can’t do math. I’d say that pretty much sums it up although (and this may sound cold-hearted) I still put my personal freedoms ahead of the ignorant. I can’t support the idea that we ban gambling or lotteries merely because some people abuse the right to spend money on them because I believe we as Americans should be free to spend our money how we choose and the last thing we need is a government that tells us when and where it is ok to spend the money we earned.
This sort of relates to that new casino being built in Iowa, but I firmly believe South Dakota should open the floodgates on casino gambling. If we had a handful of nicer casinos we would find fewer and fewer video lottery ‘casinos’ on every corner. In addition to that, people wouldn’t need to drive to their nearest Indian reservation to play blackjack. I know the tribes would hate the idea as would Deadwood, but it isn’t like people can’t waste their money gambling now if they want to… between video lottery, Indian casinos, and online gambling / online sports betting… there are more than enough ways for people to be parted from their hard earned dollar. I guess allowing some real gambling at one or two casinos wouldn’t be the end of the world. It seems to work really well for Sioux City… the Riverboat is the one destination and it just helps clean up the rest of the city.