The Lottery and Indian Gaming Lawsuits
The lottery industry has enjoyed great success despite the fact that it violates the laws of probability. For example, the odds of choosing six numbers from a field of 49 are about 14 million to one. Professor Ian Stewart of the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, once said that lotto games are a “tribute to public innumeracy.”
New York topped the list with $30 billion in lottery profits allocated to education
State lotteries have generated a wealth of education funding. In New York, for instance, lottery money accounted for about 15 percent of total school spending, including $8.5 billion from traditional sales and net wins from video games. Those funds have helped improve public schools in many ways, including offering college scholarships and funding teacher bonuses. The money is also used to cover day-to-day school operations and extras, like playground equipment. Before the lottery, education funding in the state was cut from 61 percent to 52 percent, and school boards in the state had very little influence over the amount of money spent on education.
Across the country, lottery profits are distributed in different ways. Some go to schools and other public programs, while others go to prisons and lawmaker pensions. In New York, for example, thirty-five cents of every dollar spent on a lottery ticket goes to education. In addition, all of the money generated by a lottery ticket in the state goes to k-12 schools.
AT&T vs National Lottery
In the instant lawsuit, AT&T is challenging the legitimacy of the NIL. It believes that the Lottery violates the IGRA and does not have the authority to operate on Indian land. The majority of the court disagrees. While the Court finds that the NIL is legal under the IGRA, it is unclear whether it is legal in the context of tribal gaming.
The Court found that the Lottery is legal and that ATT cannot deny it to members of the Tribe. It also ruled that ATT cannot deny the Tribe its rights to receive toll-free service. However, the Tribe appealed the decision.
Group wins are beneficial to lotteries
Buying lottery tickets in groups is a popular way to win. Group wins often generate more media coverage than solo wins, and they expose a wider audience to lotteries. However, pooling arrangements can also lead to disputes and court cases. Although such cases are rare, they do happen.
Regressivity of lottery participation among lower-income people
One of the major issues surrounding lottery participation is whether it is regressive. The NGISC report notes that, for instance, more than half of lottery players in the United States come from higher-income households, while only 40% of people in lower-income households play the lottery. This difference may reflect a combination of cognitive biases, perceived social deprivation, and even culture.
In an effort to understand the reasons why lottery participation is regressive among lower-income people, researchers examined lottery data from all 50 U.S. states and compared lottery participation with income inequality and income disparity among the poorest and richest segments of the population. The researchers found that lottery play was more prevalent among lower-income households than among upper-income households, but the results did not reveal a strong relationship.