Well, I won't be one of those sad people drooling at the door of their nearest corner store when the lottery fires up first thing this morning.
Personally, I'm pretty ambivalent on state lotteries. I pretty much consider them a tax on the stupid, and since this is somewhat of a free country, people are free to be as financially stupid as they want to be. I'd like to think I've developed some understanding of the power of a dollar over the last few years.
Recent nights of local evening news have been absurd, though. Every other story is lottery-related: Viewer emails concerning the lottery. Sound bites from store owners who aren't yet able to sell lottery tickets. Interviews with "folks on the streets" who say the lottery is sure to save this state from ... something. Tonight's newscast on one local station actually had a "Countdown to the Lottery" clock pasted to the lower left corner of the screen. So very, very pathetic.
Yes, the money from this thing is supposed to help fund the education system in this state. And that system needs bigtime help, I can assure you. But the pessimist in me says that (1) the lottery won't bring in near as much money as the politicians told us it would ($150 million per year for education, if you're curious), and (2) those same politicians will somehow find a way to "reallocate" a substantial portion of lottery funds to some purpose other than education.
But hey — at least pawn shops, payday lenders, and check-cashing establishments are banned from selling lottery tickets.
Like that's going to stop any of their patrons from playing. Please.
Oklahomans are going nuts over this thing, and all I can do is shake my head. Will I or my wife buy a ticket or two sometime? Yeah, I imagine so. But having a state lottery is not something I've looked forward to, as it seems that many of my peers have done.
Here's hoping that no matter what, the public schools benefit financially.