Gambling is a voluntary tax on the stupid

prokopton's picture

Canadians lined up to spend more than $130 million on Lotto Max tickets in the last seven days, even as Queen's University math professor David Thomson reminded us lotteries are a "voluntary tax on the stupid."

You have, he calculated, a slightly better chance of being hit by lightning twice than of winning the $50-million jackpot. When you plunk down $5 for a Lotto Max ticket, you should know the lottery corporations only put $2.40 of it into a prize pool.

Lotteries can be a harmless waste of a few dollars for the chance to dream.

But they rarely are. B.C. Lotteries is aiming for an average loss per customer of more than $700 a year.

And for too many people, lotteries are the gateway to a gambling addiction. The tickets are everywhere and B.C. Lotteries spends millions encouraging people to buy them.

Last year, the B.C. Medical Association reported that research indicated 33,000 British Columbians have a severe gambling problem; another 128,000 people have a moderate gambling problem. The damage is significant.