Who Benefits From the California Lottery?

You may recall that the when the lottery was established in California, it was supposed to benefit schools — the darling kiddies would get better schools and all sorts of better teaching materials that money can buy. But a new expose by the LA Times (carefully hidden in plain sight by being tucked into its tail end of an article on lottery doings), tells the story about how flush things are at the lottery these days. See Ryan Mentzes, Boom Times for the Lottery, L.A. Times, Jan. 6, 2014, at p. AA1.

As you read this article, it seems quite innocuous — it tells the story of how the folks who run the lottery, tinkered with the winnings  to make them more generous and attract more customers. And they succeeded. The fatter wins have attracted more customers, and increased revenues in spite of being more generous than the old ones. But that is not the point of this post. The zinger comes in the penultimate paragraph tucked in at the end of the L.A. Times article, that goes as follows:

” According to a report from the California Department of Education, most lottery funds given to K-12 schools are used to pay salaries and benefits.” Emphasis added.

And here we thought that those funds pouring in from the lottery were supposed to benefit the kiddies. Guess again.

So here is another bit of verification of the wisdom of the cynic who observed that the lottery is a tax on the stupid.

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