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My mother believes that lotteries are fixed. It's her conspiracy theory. Some people have the Freemasons, others have the Illuminati, her's is the lottery. Well, here's something to depress everyone, and will have my mother cursing at her television...
WASHINGTON -- New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg won $853,492 in the Powerball lottery, the senator told FOX News on Thursday.

Gregg said he bought $20 worth of tickets at a Citgo gas station in Washington, D.C. He said he was driving by and decided to buy some gas, and he doesn't usually play the lottery...

What is your position on lotteries?

I know some people hate them because they believe it exploits poor people. Rich people don't need to buy lottery tickets. Someone poor should probably be depositing $20 in a savings, rather than putting it on a 147 million to 1 bet.

However, it is voluntary. No one is forcing people to buy lottery tickets. You could argue that it's better than a tax in that respect, since people can choose to participate or not. It is a revenue stream that can be used for some good programs. Georgia's Hope Scholarship (funded by the Georgia Lottery) allows any child with a B average in High School to go to a public college in Georgia. Whether this is good policy or sustainable after the novelty of a lottery wears off is open to debate though...

Originally posted to 医生的宫殿 on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:40 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A tax on the innumerate masses (4.00)
    Fact:  you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to win a Powerball jackpot.

    If only Senator Gregg had been standing in an open field in a thunderstorm when he bought that ticket...

    Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some... farcical aquatic ceremony!

    by imatlas on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:42:42 PM PDT

    •  aye but (none)
      factor in risk and reward.  Some people (a great number actually) ARE hit by lightning.  Similarly, Someone eventually WILL win the lottery.  Did I throw $5 that I could spare at last night's jackpot? sure.  

      I knew the odds were infintesmially small that I'd win.  But I'll risk $5 to have a shot at a $100 million  payoff (lump sum payout after taxes).  

      Lotteries are of  Course Fixed against the player, but that doesn't mean you can't win.   It's also true that in Vegas the odds are fixed and the House wins everytime.  But the last 4 times I've been in a Casino I've exited a net winner. (including the night in Nawlins where I was a net +20 hands in blackjack after two hours)

      Forget probability, it lies.  The real chance of anything happening is always the same 50-50.  Either it Will happen or it Won't.   Miracles and runs of luck do happen.  Remember the famous tale of the Blackjack Player they called Shoeless Joe?

      Now that isn't to say that I don't despise both the gambling industry and lotteries when they  sell false hope  and suck up badly needed money from the poorest people.  I do support limits on the number of tickets than can be sold to single person, and requiring casinos to monitor thier patrons the same way bartenders do, and cut them off when they've had enough.

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:58:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My position... (none) that Gregg is a lucky bastard.

    My friend used to call the lottery the idiot tax.

  •  well (none)
    just another example of good things happenning to very bad people....


    by michael1104 on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:44:41 PM PDT

  •  It's a tax on (4.00)
    being bad at math.

    They have a similar tax on being bad at geography. It's called Detroit. I see no point in making either one illegal.

  •  I could care less about the lottery (none)
    It's not my place to decide what an person does as long as it's not illegal. But it IS our place to make sure that Judd Gregg payes his FEDERAL and STATE TAXES on his winnings. Isn't it like 50% or something?

    Brakes are for pussies - Big Johnson

    by The Other ones on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:47:51 PM PDT

  •  Being a public servant... (4.00)
    I assume Gregg is going to give all of that money to help the public, like with charities, etc.

    Oh wait, he's a republican. He's just going to buy a yacht or something.

  •  No one deserves it less (none)
    Watched him lie on C-Span about how the Republicans just want to give workers "flex-time" so they can work 50 hours one week and 30 hours the next if they can work it out with their boss. Bullshit. They already can do that if they can work it out with their boss. But the Republicans want to take away the time-and-a-half overtime pay they get for the week they work 50 hours.

    Gregg is another one in the pocket of the corporations.

    If the Republicans stay in power much longer, An Army of One isn't going to be just a slogan.

    GOP = Guilty of Perjury

    Edwards/Clark 2008

    by MeanBoneII on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:52:16 PM PDT

  •  I'm sure that some charity will be lucky soon (none)
    I sense that Gregg will start quietly donating winnings to a charity (no problem with that, in fact, it doesn't really matter where he donates it, as long as he doesn't start bragging about it)

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:52:18 PM PDT

    •  Some deserving charity (4.00)
      Like the Tom DeLay Defense Fund.
      Or the Bill Frist Defense Fund.
      Or the Karl Rove Defense Fund.
      Or the Dick Cheney Defense Fund.

      Better buy some more tickets, Judd.

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:55:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a question here (none)
    I think the odds of winning the grand prize are 146 million to one.  Now, if the prize is less than 146 million dollars, it makes no sense to play because if you wager one dollar and hit a 146 million to one shot and only get paid 30 million, the state has ripped you off of 116 million dollars.  But, it DOES make sense to play when the lottery prize gets above 146 million dollars because the payout is higher than the odds.  Now, say what you want about the wisdom of playing Lotto (or, as I call it, paying the stupid tax), but, when the prize is this high, isnt it a smart bet?

    "You cannot defend freedom abroad by abandoning it at home."

    by calipygian on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 01:56:48 PM PDT

    •  Interesting... (none)
      ...I don't follow the lottery, but my understanding is that when there is no grand prize winner one week, the pot rolls over. So yeah, it seems possible that the ratio of odds to potential payoff changes over time.

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:03:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Consortiums exist (none)
      that will buy ever single number combination in a lotto if the jackpot rises high enough

      Unfortunately for Powerball the jackpot would have to be > than $572,065,200,000  or the entire Federal discretionary budget this year.   However for small state games they do "invest" when the jackpot is more than x2 the cost of all the winning tickets.   (there is a risk because someone or several other people may have your winning number and you have to split the prize)

      there was a big to do about it a few years ago as VA tried to stop them from buyng 7.1 million lotto tickets

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:03:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hypocrisy (none)
    My only problem with the lottery is the blatant hypocrisy.  When the state does it, it's legal.  When private enterprise does it, it's called "gambling," and is illegal.  The result?  It's not illegal to gamble because it is immoral, addictive, bad for society, etc.  It's illegal because it is competing with the government.  
    •  Education money is a false argument (none)
      If a state starting a lottery ever decided to start a new system of vocational colleges or something that was not on the books before, I might buy some of the argument that a lottery funds education. But I can't see how over the long run lottery money doesn't come to simply replace the general fund money that had previously been spent on education, with the new money going to tax cuts or something else. It isn't like the lottery creates the political will to double spending on education. To the degree that this is true, it is an extremely regressive tax replacing one that is not as regressive.
  •  Judd Gregg loves Chavez!!! (none)
    That's the real headline isn't it.  So what's a fine republican doing supporting Hugo?

    Lottery is a sucker bet in general.  It's nothing but the numbers games the mob used to run, except it was bad bad bad then.

  •  Truth about the Lottery (none)
    The truth about the lotter is:

    a.   It is a tax for people who don't understand math; and

    b.   Your chances of winning are substantially the same whether you buy a ticket or not.

  •  In defense of the lottery (none)
    This is a minor point, but people probably derive at least $1's worth of entertainment from owning a lottery ticket, making the payout, in strict economic terms, a bonus.

    If you enjoy that tiny possibility of being fantastically rich for eight nights in a row more than, say, a movie, it might be a good deal.

    Throw the bums out!

    by Mikey on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:10:23 PM PDT

    •  Fine, then open a private casino (none)
      The government should have to ask for and justify its taxes in the open, and not have to trick people out of their money.

      This isn't Republicans vs. Democrats, it's Republicans vs. Democracy.

      by randompost on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:21:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (none)
      It seems like an unspoken law that anytime any discussion of any lottery anywhere comes up, 20% of the people discussing it will smugly say "It's a tax on poor people/stupid people/people who are bad at math," just in case someone hasn't heard this dust-gathering quip.  As has been pointed out above, it's a choice.  To me the "stupid people" argument is no different that one which recently floated around during NC's passing of a law which made >10% alcoholic beers legal.  The argument went something like:  "This will hurt black/hispanic communities"  As if we... can't... CONTROL IT ANYMORE!  Must... drink... sweet... booze... because it's legal!

      As a hispanic, with a degree in math, who loves alcohol, and who hasn't become a bankrupt alcoholic due to buying lottery tickets and 40s of malt liquor, let me have my fun.

      If you think everyone who buys lottery tickets is "stupid" than for God's sake don't buy one and remain proud of yourself.

  •  We should start a petition to... (none)
    force him to donate 50% to Katrina relief and 50% to buying armor for the National Guard of the 51st State, Iraq. Since he refuses to vote for it in Congress, he should be counted as a hater of the troops if he does not respond immediately to the call to donate this windfall.
  •  What's that smell? (none)
    [Sniff, sniff] Does anyone smell anything?  Are you sure?

    Maybe it's just me.

    This isn't Republicans vs. Democrats, it's Republicans vs. Democracy.

    by randompost on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:23:14 PM PDT

  •  Good, now he can (none)
    help out the people who were flooded out in NH because he doesn't believe in global warming and the weird weather it causes.

    We believe in prosperity & opportunity, strong communities, healthy families, great schools, investing in our future and leading the world by example.

    by nhselectwoman on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 02:54:51 PM PDT

  •  I drove to Arizona (none)
    to buy tickets for me and some's fun ----jeez people stop being hard-asses you sound like republicans telling people what they should/shouldn't do.

    this is your mission: TERMINATE the Bush presidency

    by nevadadem on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 03:15:11 PM PDT

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