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The Ethics Of Lottery Essay

3304 words - 13 pages

Erica OhProfessor Mark SentesyPhilosophy of the Person IThe Ethics of LotteryAlthough outlawed by some countries, every inhabited continent has a lottery system implemented. In the United States alone, lottery sales totaled to $73 billion dollars for the 2012 fiscal year while global lottery sales has increased 8.5%, "down from a half-year on half-year increase in sales of 10.7%" (World Lottery Association). Considering the popularity of the lottery, the controversy associated with it may be puzzling to most. The subject of lottery does not usually create heated debates or receives much attention. However, similar to other deeply controversial matters, the problems and clashes that arise from this topic stems from ethical foundations and questions the morality of each reason for and against the issue.Those for the implementation of the lottery argue that the revenue created by ticket sales is used for essential services to help society and can be donated to charitable groups and worthy causes. A percentage of the state lottery revenue funds public schools and goes to different areas of state development such as job creation, economic development, state programs, and infrastructure. In Massachusetts, a state consistently ranked high for lottery revenue and ticket expenditure, 23 percent of the revenue goes to the Local Aid Fund (Dunstan). Some states have even pledged to donate all of the proceeds to educational needs. In fact, lotteries have been prominent throughout history and aided in significant and substantial public works as well. Ancient Greece, Japan, China, and India all had a lottery system in place. The Great Wall of China was funded partially by a lottery and as early as 1420; Europe used lotteries to fund infrastructure projects. Additionally, "high-value commodities such as land and art were often sold through lotteries" (Dunstan). In 1753, the British parliament held a lottery to raise money to build the British Museum. More recently, the Sydney Opera House and the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal were built with funding from the lottery as well (Hausch).However, while a good part of the revenue does go to these schools and public works, most of the funds go towards the actual prizes themselves, administrative costs, commission, and ironically, problem gambling treatment. In fact, since the legalization of lottery, most states have decreased the percentage of which lottery money goes to state programs such as public schools (Hernandez). Furthermore, even when lottery money is targeted toward constructive purposes such as environmental protection and education, it has little to no effect (Libaw). While the money does go to these causes, "legislators factor in the lottery revenue and allocate less government money to the program budgets" (Libaw). This raises the question of what the priorities of the government are. While more than half of the states earmarked some or all lottery revenue for education, that percentage has been...

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