Lottery - Tax For The Poor

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Booldawg | 08:53 Wed 12th Jun 2013 | Society & Culture
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Someone put on another thread that the National Lottery was akin to a tax for the poor.

I dont really play the lottery but it has always been a ritual to buy a scratch card on the way into work every Monday. Once a week wasnt going to break the bank, it was usually met my dissapointment anyway!

As money got tighter ironically I found myself buying a scratch card on the into work more regularly than once a week. Money that I could ill afford but I could see no other way out of a situation other than good fortune. Working more hours wasnt an option; I had 2 jobs already.

I referred to it as 'desperation tax'. I wasnt buying them for a bit of a 'flutter' I was depending on good fortune to get me out of a whole. The more you need luck the less likely it is to come your way. Before I would maybe win back the price of the ticket every 2 or 3 weeks. Nothing for months depsite buying 4 or 5 cards a week.

I think the poster was very right in describing the lottery as a tax for the poor. Or stupid if you examine the odds!


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What you are actually buying is hope - a precious commodity, albeit a forlorn one.
09:13 Wed 12th Jun 2013
Since was it only poor people who play the lottery.
*Since when
Anyway we frown upon tax avoidance as being immoral, so you all must buy lots & lots of lottery tickets.
I sell the lottery and health lottery at work, a whole cross section of people buy tickets trust me, and there is no way of telling what their household income is, but i certainly would not class any of them as poor. for one thing they have had access to a car to get to the retail park.
Yup the lottery is going up to the same as the Euromillions price of £2 per line but when is not clear - initially it was said to be August. My supermaket lotttery-counter assistant said she didn't know but thought it was "in autumn"
I like a flutter after EVERYTHING is accounted for per month including: my female partner and my regular saving of of £200 per month into our utilities account, my personal monthly savings accounts and material luxuries.
I went back to the Saturday Lotto, after many years when I heard of the coming price-hike a few months ago. I pay in eight-week periods (I might be the first to know of the price rise when they ask for more than the price of the lines and I refuse to pay and have the entry voided).
MY LOTTERY FUN, as a scientist and hence modestly good simple statistician, is on slightly improving the chances through spreadsheet analysis of past results, e.g. the mean and median of the six numbers is virtually always about 30. Can't avoid birthdays but avoid them as far as possible to get bigger jackpot.
Result? I eventually got £10 last week, pmsl.
But I can afford it and no place for hope of getting out of poverty like the majority of "society's" callously ripped-off underdogs.
Yes, it's a tax on the poor, a voluntary one of course. I count myself among these "poor". That Sunseeker is way out of my reach.
I've never heard anyone say they buy lottery tickets because about half of it goes to 'good causes '. If you take out good causes, duty, expenses and dividends less than a quarter is paid out in prizes. I have read it's actually less than 10%.
I am still of the opinion that I always had, that the National Lottery should be just that National. Not to be run by a private company but run by the government to help fund the NHS. Instead of helping the arts & other good causes what is more of a good cause than our NHS which is gradually failing through lack of sensible investment ?

>>>knowing that for every £1 the poor give to Camelot a fraction of it goes to them via corporation tax

Camelot don't pay Corporation Tax. They do pay Lottery Duty.

The funding from a £1 ticket is distributed as follows:
50p Prize money
28p Good causes
12p Lottery Duty
5p Retailer's commission
4p Camelot's operating costs
1p Camelot's profit

Many corner shops would struggle to survive without the sale of National Lottery tickets and scratch cards. Good causes receive over £35m every week from the Lottery. Yes, the Government does receive a great deal of money from the lottery as well but, unless you want to do away with all public services, taxes are essential. A tax on something voluntary seems better, to me, than enforced taxation elsewhere.
>>>Not to be run by a private company but run by the government

That would still only produce an extra 1% of revenue for good causes or for the NHS. (See my figures above). That, of course, assumes that the lottery could be run as efficiently by the Government as by a private company. I very much doubt it!
I have to agree with WR - definitely shouldn't be run by a private company/consortium and IMO run for the NHS. They have (or used to) have a hospital lottery in Ireland I just wonder why it can't be run here for our health services.
What's the Health Lottery doing then?
EcclesCake, this is about the Camelot national lottery!
WR, YOU ARE SPOT-ON. Above I put "good causes" in quotes like that as I've always opposed this selected pay-out. The underclass cannot afford seats at the opera, theatre or to travel to the great art galleries or even sporting events. The example given each time on the BBC (free advert for Camelot out of our license fee) is often a chosen tear-jerker to mask the waste on other throwaways that the rich enjoy. Yes it should be done by the government, contracted out e.g. to Virgin with strict conditions for NHS share. Otherwise transfer it to Virgin - but Branson is too much of a democratic socialist for the current Eton & Oxford rabble.
On to Buenchico next!
Regarding government ownership please see my answer above.
Thanks for putting figures which confirm the government money-grab (12p from every £1) from the poor who buy in desperate hope. And govt also gain from the "good causes" as they might have to fork-out to some of these.
As usual "operating costs" are mainly directors' pay.
I generally respect you too much to use the word rubbish to your wrong claim that corner-shops rely on the lottery to survive. They are already going to the wall thro' excessive rates bills, taxes and the supermarkets' constant growth as well as them being the major lottery ticket sellers. I've never seen corner-shop queues to buy tickets on saturday as happens in the supermarkets.
Sorry Buenchico, must do better.
Its often said that the Lotto is a tax on the poor, but this isn't really borne out by any reliable research. People from across the socio-economic spectrum regularly buy Lotto tickets.

However, it has to be said that poorer, less-well educated people are more likely to spend money on any sort of gambling, Lotto being only one sort amongst many.

The problem with Lotto is its sheer availability. There are 10,000's of outlets in Britain where you can play the Lottery, while indulging in quite innocent, everyday activities, like food shopping and putting petrol in your car. People may and often do, have children with them when buying these Lotto tickets and scratch cards. It has become part of the weekly shop at Tesco, et al.

But if you want to put money on a horse, or play a slot machine or Roulette, then you have to make a special journey, to a special place, called a Bookies. You can't get a pint of milk or a loaf of bread at the same time. and children are banned. Up until recently, they had the added attraction of reeking of stale tobacco smoke.

Perhaps we missed an easy way to lessen the drain on family budgets buy not restricting Lotto to Bookies, when It was launched years ago.

I am not being holier than thou about this, as I put £1 on Lotto every Saturday night. Its just that we have made it too easy and therefore, socially acceptable.
Dear mikey4444,
Although I don't agree with all you say your contribution is reasoable and well argued. Well done.
The last people to restrict lottery sales would be the govt with more than a 12% take! - across all parties.
Regarding "society's" poorest - the evil lies in two areas: (1) unlike you and me who have an affordable flutter, they buy in desperate hope to escape their abyss of misery and (2) it's about percentage of income that counts.
I don't blame them, I pity them and the solution is theoretically in our hands because all the state's money is ours. But in our electoral dictatorship "we" prefer to buy unusable armaments rather than push money into helping them as much as possible to (re?) join the average strivers like us. Even a 10% success rate would be worth our every penny.

Thanks solvitquick !

Gambling is just another way that poor, uneducated people are not helping themselves. They are also much more likely to smoke, for example, still the major cause of illness and premature death. Ditto with unhealthy diets. I live in an old mining village in South Wales, with a population of approx. 7000. We have 3 chip shops, 3 Chinese takeaways, 3 Indian takeaways, one pizza parlour and 2 rather dreadful "kebab" type places. Far too many for a small community like ours !

We also have more than our fair share of unemployment.

Education is what is needed.

There is a rather cruel joke told about Scotsmen...

"what do you call a plate of cold chips in Scotland ?"

" A salad of course ! "

This could be transported to any poor, run-down area of the UK, so I must apologise to my Scottish friends !
I have won small sums on Lotto, Thunderball and Euro but never on the Health Lottery despite the fact the their odds are better.
Dear Mikey4444,
Let's agree to differ on a number of issues but agree that something needs to be done to help - with education as a minimum.
I think you are pigeon-holing people by their class and that's easy but leads to factually wrong conclusions. The rich, the middle class, the working class and the ignored sub-class are all equally susceptible to gamble, drink
alcohol and smoke (but the "higher" classes smoke cigars).
It's gambling to own part, all or one or a stable of race-horses so if gambling is bad, the Queen is settting a bad example. And what about investments in companies, that's gambling. Banks and the city? Enough said on that one!
The "higher" classes drink heavily - but they foolishly drink spirits - that's one-up to the lower classes because they drink beer. It is a proven fact that beer is much less dangerous than whiskey even when the same
alcohol-level is consumed. Besides many of the working class swig their beer after more than 7 hours of hard work (glassblowers, miners, steelworkers etc.).
Kind Regards,

We already know how much tax comes out of our pound, or each pound you are lucky enough to put on, so I cannot see where it taxes the poor when everyone, in all walks of life, are treated the same.

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