Watch John Oliver Explain How the Government Seduces Americans to Spend Huge on the Lottery


Americans spend a colossal amount of money betting on the lottery, even when the chances of winning have always been near-impossible. In fact last year alone, lottery sales raked in a massive total of $68 billion, according to the latest Last Week Tonight.

“That’s more than Americans spent last year on movie tickets, music, porn, the NFL, Major League Baseball, and video games combined,” John Oliver explained. “Which means Americans basically spent more on the lottery than they spent on America.”

It becomes even more bizarre when you understand it’s our states governments profiting from the giant business, which targets lower-income families who have historically spent more on tickets than the wealthy.

One of the frighteningly successful ways governments accomplish this is by creating ads that essentially mask the lottery as some kind of mutual fund or “charitable investment.” Watch below:

 

 

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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