Monday, June 27, 2005

Another reason state lotteries are a bad idea

Texas Officials Admit Jackpots Inflated

Lottery officials admitted Friday they knew ticket sales would not cover an advertised $8 million Lotto Texas jackpot this month, meaning a winner would not have collected the full amount.

The Texas Lottery Commission used the inflated number for the June 8 drawing to generate interest and get more people to play even though staff reports estimated sales could only cover $6.5 million, manager Robert Tirloni told commissioners.

Tirloni said jackpots had fallen short of the advertised amounts twice before — once last October and again in February. Each involved an advertised $8 million jackpot that couldn't be supported by ticket sales. No winners emerged, however.
Wonderful, isn't it? I already opposed state lotteries because they're an incredibly bad way to raise revenue. They are a "stupidity tax," but a tax with extremely high overhead. Here in New York, lottery retailers are paid a 6% commission, and there are many executives collecting high salaries.

Then there are the millions spent on ads; the IRS does not need to advertise on TV and radio to get you to pay your taxes. New York's lottery ads are also extremely bad and annoying. Had Pepsi hired such an incompetent advertising agency back in 1985, we'd have switched to New Coke.

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