Thursday, November 29, 2012

I didn't win the Powerball but I did win the Cash 5

Yep, I matched 2 out of 5 numbers and got my dollar back.

The Pennsylvania Lottery is one of the best run in the country with $3.5 billion in ticket sales last year and administrative costs of just over 2 percent.So naturally Governor Cabot Corbett wants to sell it off. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Privatizing government functions creates a profit motive for the investors of the companies that take on those tasks and distorts the goal of government to provide for the common good. Just look how  sending juvenile offenders to a private facility in Luzerne County worked out.

Camelot Global Services is promising pie in the sky revenues by adding more games that can be done by the lottery already. An added bonus is that the profits would be off shored.

I suggest that House Majority Leader Mike Turzai be put in charge of this effort since he has done such a bang up job of selling off the state liquor stores.

Is privatizing Pennsylvania Lottery a smart bet?

 British firm promises $34 billion in profits over 20 years

1 comment:

Stephen Albert said...

While I do, for example, strongly support getting the state government out of the liquor business, I can't see any reason to privatize the lottery. One is a business that the state has no business being in...that should be run at a profit by people that know how to run businesses at a profit..the other is basically just another form of taxation. Why?

First, I'll note that I "support" the lottery to the extent that it does a great job of raising money for senior citizens. That's great, noble stuff. Our senior citizens deserve the services the lottery creatively funds.

Second, I do think the lottery basically is a form of this case taxing stupid behavior. The vast majority of folks pay far, far more for lottery tickets than they ever win back. I had a relative once claim to me that she "wins back more than she pays in". Then we did the math, and there was the inevitable "oh" moment. Anyway, I say what the heck: if someone "enjoys" handing money over to Apu at the Quick-E-Mart AND it helps senior citizens, then I say it's a good deal all around. No one is forcing me to buy a supermegajumbopowerball.

In the end, why screw this up? What's more, let's not forget that gambling is a bit like bacon fat: unless you have a religious conviction against it, for the most part it's okay in moderation. Too much though is really, really bad for you over the long term.

AS for me, I played the lottery once, at work a dozen years or more ago, basically putting money into a pool out of sheer peer pressure. Otherwise I couldn't be bothered.

- Steve