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The Daily Tar Heel

Lottery in North Carolina Places an Undue Burden On Poor, Spares the Rich


The end of increased funding for public education does not justify a lottery.

Supporters of the lottery maintain that it raises money from voluntary consumers who are purchasing a form of entertainment. If the lottery were simply voluntary entertainment consumption, like going to the theater, rich people would buy more lottery tickets than poor people just as they buy more theater tickets.

Common experience tells us that poor people, not rich people, buy lottery tickets. Poor people play the lottery either involuntarily, because of addiction, or because they think it is an answer to their money problems, not for entertainment.

One of my closest friends had to drop out of college to help her single mother pay the bills. Eventually her family lost their trailer, and my friend's mother died of a heart attack at the age of 50. Her mother probably would be alive today if she had gone to the doctor even once in the 10 years before her death and had taken a $12 per month hypertension drug.

Instead of tending to her health, my friend's mother spent $500 every month on a lottery that her state's government wanted her to play, a lottery that spared rich people from paying their fair share of taxes and gave a for-profit lottery corporation lots of income. I'd gladly pay higher taxes to spare the college education, home and mother of someone like my friend.

I ask that you write your General Assembly representative in opposition to the proposed N.C. lottery.

Jennifer Rellick
MSPH Candidate
School of Public Health

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