The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting (“Maine legislators cast doubt on review of lottery promotion tactics”) and Cornell University report is in alignment with most critical thinking with regard to lotteries in general, i.e. that lotteries consistently draw a large portion of their income from the poorest segments of our population. The draw of the lottery increases when times get harder or a person suffers an economic setback.
To my mind, the state use of a lottery to supplement taxes is akin to an added tax on those least able to bear it. Granted, people voluntarily purchase the lottery tickets. Many see a lottery windfall as the only chance of ever “getting their heads above water.” However, preying on the less fortunate to benefit all is not ethical. If more tax revenue is required, so be it. Taxes are graduated such that those more able to bear the burden provide a greater percentage of the revenue accrued, a more just arrangement. The state of Maine should not be in the lottery business.
Dana J. Leonard