You don't need John Oliver to tell you that state lotteries—or, as your mom calls them, "the stupidity tax"—are a bad deal, but you may not have realized the extent to which they suck.
State lotteries raked in $68 billion last year, money that comes disproportionately from the poor and from problem gamblers. It's worse in states with video poker: Players in Oregon lost an average of $2,564 last year.
And even when someone hits one of those fabled millions-t0-one jackpots, it's hardly the dream the commercials promise. They blow through it in a few years, or someone steals it, sues them for it, or tries to murder them—sometimes successfully. Horror stories abound.
But at least the money you spend gambling goes to a good cause, right? Hahahahano.
In 21 of the 24 states whose lottery proceeds supposedly benefit education, education spending is actually down or flat. The lottery revenue does go to education, technically, but it tends to replace states' current education budgets, not add to them.
No one's a winner!