House Bill 606 – State lottery

Fred Birnbaum 2020 Idaho Spending Index Leave a Comment

Bill description: State lottery, Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation 

Rating: -1

Analysis:

The actual changes in expenditures for this budget are not the core issue.

The Idaho State Lottery is three decades old, but the problems with the establishment and operation of a government gambling scheme are no different today than the first lottery ticket was sold in Idaho in 1989. 

The government simply shouldn’t be in the lottery business. It is not the proper role of government. In addition to being a tax on the poorest, who hope that a winning ticket will solve their financial problems, it is also widely understood to be a tax on people whose hopes lead them to conclude that they may be lucky enough to “strike it rich” even though the odds don’t favor such an outcome. The lottery, therefore, often extracts money  from the people who can afford it least, benefiting a relative few, making it highly dubious public policy.