(Click on the picture to see the gory details).
Except for dogmatic libertarians, I don’t see how one can justify a public policy that exacerbates this situation through expanded legal
gambling gaming. It’s safe to say that Deval Patrick has no libertarian leanings. These charts would nauseate any liberal worthy of the label. Even libertarians object to a state monopoly on gambling. So exactly who is in favor of funding our last 5-10% of incremental state government spending ($1-2B per year) through this form of taxation and/or malignant social policy? Who now wants the Commonwealth to do even more of this? Stand up and be counted, folks. I’m listening for good reasons why this practice represents an enlightened social policy.
From the report:
For the race/ethnicity category, participation rates are nearly identical across groups. However, average spending by blacks who play is much larger than for other categories, and hence per capita spending by blacks is higher than for other categories. …spending by players drops sharply as we move up through the education categories. The result is that the education category with the highest per capita spending is those who did not complete high school, and the college graduates have the lowest. With respect to household income, we see that participation rates increase up to $100,000. But players with incomes less than $50,000 spend more than others, and the lower income categories have the highest per capita spending….Hence lottery expenditures represent a much larger burden on the household budget for those with low incomes than for those with high incomes.
By the way, this study is from national survey data taken from states with lotteries. The most recent study exclusively concerned with Massachusetts lottery players dates from 1994 -- 12 years ago. You can see the entire 1999 report here.UPDATE: The second of Derrick's 2 columns on casino gambling is here. He spoke with some researchers about delayed effects of casinos. I would not be surprised if these exist, but they are certainly more difficult to measure than the blunt demographics that clearly show that the heavy Lottery players are far more likely to be poor, uneducated, and from minority groups. The column ends with an insightful quote from one researcher:
"It is harder to put numbers on family breakups, depression, and divorce. Many of those negatives take much longer to manifest themselves than the benefits. It takes problem gamblers a while to run through their finances and relationships."