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1

lotteries are one of the most regressive ways of creating state income. so are sales taxes. both are popular here!

of course, washington can't have an income or wealth tax. that would be too unfair and burdensome.

Posted by dp | January 29, 2007 12:36 PM
2

Though on particularly depressing Monday mornings I have purchased lotto ticket, I think it's basically a regressive tax. It should be illegal to advertise it and they should get rid of all the wacky "Super Grand Slam" and "Ultra Cookie Jar" branded games. All lotto print material should be black and white with your odds of winning prominently displayed.

Posted by skweetis | January 29, 2007 12:39 PM
3

One of the standard homework assignments in statistics classes is to calculate the expected gain from buying a lottery ticket. It is always negative. If it weren't, no one would hold a lottery in the first place, because it would lose money.

I don't remember who it was that first said "It seems wrong to fund education for the poor and ignorant by selling lottery tickets, thus taking money from the poor and ignorant."

Posted by tsm | January 29, 2007 1:01 PM
4

Actually, Lotteries pay FAR worse odds than even slot machines at casions. Most slot machines return 90% back to the players, blackjack is about 95% if played correctly, and craps is close to 97% if played correctly. Washington state lottery? 63.7%. Shitty odds, misleading advertising, regressive taxation....

Lotteries = Bad!

Posted by Andrew | January 29, 2007 1:02 PM
5

Washington Liquor stores put certain wines "on sale" perpetually. Any other business that tried that would be fined by the state. Nothing new here. The state is a "deceptive practices" do as I say; not as I do player.

Posted by B.D. | January 29, 2007 1:06 PM
6

Not false advertising. Maybe the wallet is stuffed with losing tickets.

Posted by Jason | January 29, 2007 1:38 PM
7

This is completely irrelevant, but your vitamin example isn't 100% accurate. I can put cat pee in a tablet and say it "promotes a healthy immune system" all I want and it's perfectly legal. I just can't say it performs a specific function or contains an ingredient that it says it doesn't. Eg, I can't say that my cat pee will boost your white blood cells or that it's really dog pee.

The same isn't true for things on the FDA's list of "foods" -- I can't say a banana will promote your immune system unless it goes through a rigorous scientific screening process.

This nonsensical regulatory system brought to you by Big Vitamin!!!

Posted by jamier | January 29, 2007 1:50 PM
8

A lottery banner over a U District convenience store reads "BEACH HOUSE $1".

You'd have better luck playing blackjack or poker.

If the state wasn't running this lottery, I'd suggest the state step in and stop this false advertising. But alas, at this point we can't tell the pigs from the humans.

Posted by Gomez | January 29, 2007 2:21 PM
9

Hard for legislators to ignore the easy candy of a state-sponsored lottery. (Although, before lotteries became legalized in Washington State through a referendum, a couple of legislators actually went to jail for conspiracy because they dared broach the subject.) Now that almost every state has a lottery, it's just a hidden tax on the poor. Unconscionable, in my view.

Posted by Ronald | January 29, 2007 2:54 PM
10

Lotteries aren't a tax on poor people, they're a tax on people who suck at math.

Really, if you can't figure out that its a terrible use of your dollar, no amount of state protection is going to be able to help you.

"False advertising" is just another way of saying "advertising". Place your bets, suckers.

Posted by Fnarf | January 29, 2007 4:47 PM
11

As with any gambling, the probability of winning is inversely proportional to the potential gain. Sure, I could stand a better chance of winning at blackjack, but it would take me a lot longer to turn my $1 into, say, $30 million.

Obviously, anyone who views the lottery as sensible retirement planning is a sucker, but I would suggest dropping a meagre amount of pocket change on the (extremely slim) possibility of becoming filthy, stinking rich is a sound choice.

Posted by benjo | January 29, 2007 7:24 PM
12

Bento: you are a case in point. You don't understand odds. I'd LOVE to play poker with you.

Posted by Fnarf | January 29, 2007 8:43 PM
13

What - how dare they - lottery as fun.

I coined the phrase. "A tax on ignorance."

I have never bought a lotto ticket, but have fewer totally elite feelings about those who do.

Of course, 12.00 fancy mix cocktails make perfect sense. Sensible wise spending of resources.

Posted by selma | January 29, 2007 8:45 PM
14

The above comments are wrong.

I played online poker for a living prior to the ban on online gambling in Washington State:

Perfectly played blackjack that assumes standard tribal casino rules in Washington (split twice is allowed, double down after splitting allowed, double down on any two cards allowed, no surrender allowed, aces may only be split once, split aces may not be hit or doubled, blackjack pays 3-2) yields a blackjack return of 99.6%.

Jacks or Better video poker with a full payscale (9-1 for full house, 6-1 for flush) has a return of 99.65%.

The very best craps bet that can be made is a combined bet of the passline bet plus taking odds on the bet behind the pass line. At Muckleshoot, max odds are twice for a return of about 99.34%. At Tulalip the max odds you can bet behind the pass line are ten times the pass line bet for a return of 99.816%.

If you want to verify any of these numbers independently (or numbers for any other casino games) see www.wizardofodds.com.

Then there is poker, which is primarily a skill based game with an element of luck. Scrabble is a game that is universally accepted as a game that is skill based with an element of luck. The better players win in the long run, but anyone can repeatedly draw no vowels and lose to a semi-competent opponent, etc. The only difference between why poker has a negative conotation and is subsequently banned from being played online, and scrabble is not, is that people don't usually wager on scrabble.

What we should be asking is this? Isn't in unethical that we are promotion a lottery with a return in the 60% as some sort of money making machine which I believe to be frankly irresponsible while moralistically restricting access to casinos and other betting devices simply because the state doesn't get a cut?

TAX gambling winnings, tax online poker, don't ban it.

Margarita Prentice is the biggest hand out hypocrite lawmaker Washington State has.

She pushes to ban online gambling as being predatory and destructive despite little evidence that it is, or that it has any effect on underage gamblers as she puports, but then she opposes limiting the amount payday loan companies can set their rates at, despite plenty of evidence that particularly young and minority works get stuck in the payday loan cycle.

How about a little spotlight on how fucked up our gambling policies are.

If interested, email me at bbkpoker@gmail.com

Posted by Jesse | January 30, 2007 6:11 AM
15

The above comments are wrong.

I played online poker for a living prior to the ban on online gambling in Washington State:

Perfectly played blackjack that assumes standard tribal casino rules in Washington (split twice is allowed, double down after splitting allowed, double down on any two cards allowed, no surrender allowed, aces may only be split once, split aces may not be hit or doubled, blackjack pays 3-2) yields a blackjack return of 99.6%.

Jacks or Better video poker with a full payscale (9-1 for full house, 6-1 for flush) has a return of 99.65%.

The very best craps bet that can be made is a combined bet of the passline bet plus taking odds on the bet behind the pass line. At Muckleshoot, max odds are twice for a return of about 99.34%. At Tulalip the max odds you can bet behind the pass line are ten times the pass line bet for a return of 99.816%.

If you want to verify any of these numbers independently (or numbers for any other casino games) see www.wizardofodds.com.

Then there is poker, which is primarily a skill based game with an element of luck. Scrabble is a game that is universally accepted as a game that is skill based with an element of luck. The better players win in the long run, but anyone can repeatedly draw no vowels and lose to a semi-competent opponent, etc. The only difference between why poker has a negative conotation and is subsequently banned from being played online, and scrabble is not, is that people don't usually wager on scrabble.

What we should be asking is this? Isn't in unethical that we are promotion a lottery with a return in the 60% as some sort of money making machine which I believe to be frankly irresponsible while moralistically restricting access to casinos and other betting devices simply because the state doesn't get a cut?

TAX gambling winnings, tax online poker, don't ban it.

Margarita Prentice is the biggest hand out hypocrite lawmaker Washington State has.

She pushes to ban online gambling as being predatory and destructive despite little evidence that it is, or that it has any effect on underage gamblers as she puports, but then she opposes limiting the amount payday loan companies can set their rates at, despite plenty of evidence that particularly young and minority works get stuck in the payday loan cycle.

How about a little spotlight on how fucked up our gambling policies are.

If interested, email me at bbkpoker@gmail.com

Posted by Jesse | January 30, 2007 6:11 AM
16

The above comments are wrong.

I played online poker for a living prior to the ban on online gambling in Washington State:

Perfectly played blackjack that assumes standard tribal casino rules in Washington (split twice is allowed, double down after splitting allowed, double down on any two cards allowed, no surrender allowed, aces may only be split once, split aces may not be hit or doubled, blackjack pays 3-2) yields a blackjack return of 99.6%.

Jacks or Better video poker with a full payscale (9-1 for full house, 6-1 for flush) has a return of 99.65%.

The very best craps bet that can be made is a combined bet of the passline bet plus taking odds on the bet behind the pass line. At Muckleshoot, max odds are twice for a return of about 99.34%. At Tulalip the max odds you can bet behind the pass line are ten times the pass line bet for a return of 99.816%.

If you want to verify any of these numbers independently (or numbers for any other casino games) see www.wizardofodds.com.

Then there is poker, which is primarily a skill based game with an element of luck. Scrabble is a game that is universally accepted as a game that is skill based with an element of luck. The better players win in the long run, but anyone can repeatedly draw no vowels and lose to a semi-competent opponent, etc. The only difference between why poker has a negative conotation and is subsequently banned from being played online, and scrabble is not, is that people don't usually wager on scrabble.

What we should be asking is this? Isn't in unethical that we are promotion a lottery with a return in the 60% as some sort of money making machine which I believe to be frankly irresponsible while moralistically restricting access to casinos and other betting devices simply because the state doesn't get a cut?

TAX gambling winnings, tax online poker, don't ban it.

Margarita Prentice is the biggest hand out hypocrite lawmaker Washington State has.

She pushes to ban online gambling as being predatory and destructive despite little evidence that it is, or that it has any effect on underage gamblers as she puports, but then she opposes limiting the amount payday loan companies can set their rates at, despite plenty of evidence that particularly young and minority works get stuck in the payday loan cycle.

How about a little spotlight on how fucked up our gambling policies are.

If interested, email me at bbkpoker@gmail.com

Posted by Jesse | January 30, 2007 6:11 AM
17

Fnarf - like the vast majority of people, I do not have the balls of steel necessary to place a significant enough bet to win, to continue my hypothetical lottery amount, $30 million. I do, however, have the courage, and the means, to risk one measly dollar on the (very slim) chance of winning big. That is, my risk is very low, the chance of winning very low, but the potential reward very high. Where's the harm?

Posted by benjo | January 30, 2007 8:40 PM
18

Benjo's right about one thing: it does take some balls to grind out a profit at poker. You're playing against other people who are trying to take your money just like you're trying to take theirs'.

Can anyone refresh my memory on who exactly has bought Margarita Prentice's ear? I'm sure the tribal casinos are involved, but is anyone else? I remember the woman whose son capped himself because of his gambling losses scapegoating the industry and using Prentice to pass the online ban, but that can't be all there is to it. Others had to ratify the legislation.

Also, is Prentice one of those sanctimonious 'gambling is evil because the lord said so' types?

Posted by Gomez | January 31, 2007 9:35 AM
19

Oh, it turns out Prentice is one of those 'tribal gaming pays me to crush their competition' types.

Posted by Gomez | February 3, 2007 9:30 AM
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