The zero-sum lottery

To the editor:

Several years ago, we attended a Portland State University lecture by a professor of gambling from Nevada. He presented facts that the legislature should consider about the lottery. Five percent of gamblers are addictive, an illness that leads to divorce, bankruptcy and demands on welfare. Though the state may collect proceeds from the lottery, it pays it back in child family services, welfare and Medicaid. It is a zero-sum equation with no final gain for the state and much misery for the addicted and their families.

The lottery is a regressive tax on the poor. They are the biggest gamblers. For a millionaire to win a million before taxes is hardly an inducement, so they don’t gamble.

For the state to exploit the gullible and the poor with the lottery is greedy, nave and immoral. It makes losers of everyone and the state a shill.

Harley L. Sachs

Portland, Ore.