January 6, 2013

Letter: Government sanctioned gambling and its effects upon Georgians

Information from a Bloomberg.com March 14, 2012, article, “Georgia lottery players suckers spending most for least”:

“Georgia’s lottery players are the biggest suckers in a nation buying more than $50 billion a year in tickets for state-run games, which have the worst odds of any form of legal gambling. Players in Georgia, whose per capita income is about 10 percent below the U.S. average, are doing the most damage to their personal finances. They spent the second-highest chunk of their income on the lottery, which funds college scholarships and pre-kindergarten, according to the Sucker Index created by Bloomberg Rankings.

“Governors use lotteries to pay for education, environmental protection and other programs. In the past fiscal year, sales rose for 26 of the 43 states that have games, helping close budget gaps from declining tax revenue and federal aid. The pot comes disproportionately from lower-income residents, according to a Journal of Behavioral Decision Making study. ‘You’re taking from those with few means and helping those with more means,’ Charles Clotfelter, a Duke University economics professor, said from Durham, N.C. ‘To link that tax revenue to a benefit that goes largely to middle- and upper-class citizens is a little stunning.’ ‘It’s a pro-rich wealth-redistribution technique in Georgia,’ Clotfelter, co-author of ‘Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America,’ said in a telephone interview.”

An article on The Daily Citizen’s editorial page recently asked, “Want to bet the horses in Georgia?” It brings to light another fleecing of the Georgia public by proposing pari-mutuel betting and horse racing. What else do you get with horse racing and pari-mutuel betting? Crime of more degrees than the average Georgian wants to know about. With crime comes the need for more law enforcement, which is more tax dollars that we don’t have now.

Why do people gamble? It’s the old “get rich quick,” scheme or what’s commonly called greed. The average Georgian is only feeding money into the system with little or no return. It shames me that education of children and college students are the excuse for what is otherwise considered crime.

Contact your legislators now and respectfully request that this not be allowed to be put on the ballot for a vote. The poor simply cannot afford another fleecing by government greed, and government doesn’t need more money to misappropriate and waste.

Mike Beason

Tunnel Hill

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