The Lure of the Lotto and Its Impact on the Poor

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States establish lotteries as a means of funding public services, including education, environmental protection and crime control. Best of all, of course, they're voluntary. But it turns out that most of the money they take in every year comes from the poorest Americans. Powerball is shared by 44 states, with drawings on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The chance of winning that "guaranteed jackpot?" One in 175,223,510. It's not great odds -- but just one of the games that add up to $70 billion a year.

Thanks to Sarah Sween for production assistance.




Warren Olney