Saturday, July 26, 2008

lOTTO IS A TAX ON THE POOR

I saw this on AOL.

Duh. It is what I have been saying on this blog all along. Organized gambling preys on the poorest. Organized gambling when it needs more revenue employs techniques to make those least able to pay, pay more. Duh. Duh. Duh.

And here is the saddest thing--please note that the article reports . . . "U.S. households with incomes under $12,400 spend an average of $645 on lotteries."

Per day?

Per week?

Per year?

Okay, let's say that it is per year . . . that works out to about $53 per month . . . so they are earning $1030 per month and BLOWING about $53 per month on lotto . . . looked at another way, they are earning about $257 a week and blowing about $13 on the lotto.

Who can live on $258 a week? They're thinking is . . . I can't really live on $258 per week anyhow, so I might as well blow $13 on the lotto.

And they are NOT going to win. They are simply allowing the state to reduce their meager paychecks by an additional $13.

Like the saying goes, "Lotto is a tax on the poor."


Preston

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"Feeling Poor Spurs Lottery Ticket Buys"

NEW YORK (July 25) - When it comes to purchasing lottery tickets, making people feel poor will prompt them to spend more money on a chance to become rich, American researchers said.


They found that people who were convinced they were earning a low salary bought nearly twice as many lottery tickets compared to others who were made to feel more affluent.


"When people are made to feel subjectively poor, they end up buying more lottery tickets which is somewhat perverse since every time you buy a lottery ticket, it's the equivalent of burning money," said George Loewenstein, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who advised the research team.

"It's certainly paradoxical that making people feel poor means they are more likely to burn money," he added in an interview.

In a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making the researchers found that when people thought their earnings were below a certain standard, they were more prone to take risks and fall into a poverty trap.


"Lottery tickets are such a bad financial decision. Purchasing the tickets just makes their financial situation worse, which then encourages them to purchase more lottery tickets," Emily Haisley, who headed the research team, explained.

In the study people earning less than $100,000 a year, which was suggested by the researchers to be a low-income, bought 1.27 lottery tickets compared to 0.67 by people who earned more.

In a second experiment in the study, some people were indirectly reminded that everyone has an equal chance of winning the lottery. The group given the reminder purchased 1.31 tickets, compared with 0.54 in the group not given the reminder.

"People who run lotteries have a lot of knowledge. They know who buys what types of tickets, they know who their customers are and their advertising certainly plays on the hopes and aspirations of low-income individuals," Loewenstein said.

A recent report by the Commission on Thrift, a project of the private, non-profit think tank Institute for American Values, said that U.S. households with incomes under $12,400 spend an average of $645 on lotteries.

Reporting by Ashleigh Patterson; editing by Patricia Reaney
Copyright 2008, Reuters
2008-07-25 11:03:04

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.