Lottery Advertising


The NGISC report, published in November 2008, did not find evidence that lotteries deliberately target poor people. Marketing to the poor would be unwise, both from a business and political standpoint. However, lottery participants do not have an unfavorable view of the payout percentages. According to the NGISC report, lottery payout percentages are in the neighborhood of about 50%. As a result, lottery players are likely to be low-income.

In the early twentieth century, negative attitudes toward gambling cooled down. Prohibition failed, but the practice of drawing lots to determine ownership was common in Europe. By the early twentieth century, lottery funding was tied to the United States, when King James I of England instituted a lottery in Jamestown, Virginia, to fund the settlement. Public and private organizations began to use the lottery to raise funds for towns, wars, colleges, and public-works projects.

State lotteries are operated by the state governments of the United States. These monopolies collect a small amount of money each week and use the proceeds to support government programs. According to the NASPL Web site, nearly eighty-five percent of lottery retailers are online and offer information about specific lottery promotions. Half of the lottery retailers are convenience stores. Other retailers include nonprofit organizations, service stations, restaurants, newsstands, and other outlets. In addition, the NASPL says that retailers are not restricted to selling lottery tickets, but that they do need to be licensed.

The NGISC’s report also criticized state governments for promoting the lottery for instant gratification and luck. However, it notes that lottery officials have used online tickets to spread important information. The lottery was used to alert the public when a child was abducted, and several states have partnered with this organization to use it. Those concerns are a good sign. But it is worth considering that lottery advertising may not always be as effective as we think.

According to the survey, over seventy percent of respondents in states with a state lottery would vote to continue the game if the proceeds went to a specific cause. In contrast, just twenty-five percent of respondents in states without a lottery would support its continuation. More than sixty percent of respondents surveyed said the proceeds should go to education, and one-fourth ranked roads/public transportation as the most suitable use. As with any other form of gambling, the lottery has many problems, including underage gambling, problem gambling, and too much advertising.

Despite being an expensive entertainment, the lottery does not make you rich. People are more likely to buy lottery tickets if they perceive themselves as being poor. This creates a vicious cycle for those with low incomes. It exploits their desire for escape from poverty and contributes to their financial situation. If you want to escape the vicious cycle of poverty, you have to be willing to pay more to enter a lottery game. If you win, be careful.