Lottery advertising encourages people to dream, to hope for success through luck, to take risks. Law-enforcement, drug-education and safety officials try to convince people to avoid such potentially harmful risks as the lottery habit. Educators teach people to make rational choices; lottery ads encourage spending on fantasy and illusion, on wishes for wealth without work. Lotteries imply that the path to success is luck. So Business Week ask a good question: "Is gambling....fostering a cultural bias away from skill and hard work toward luck and fate as the best road to success?"
Similar questions are raised by Charles Clotfelter and Philip Cook, Duke University economists, who write that "lotteries may have the ironic effect of reducing government revenues over the long run....if the lottery promotion erodes the propensities to work, save, and self-invest in education and training." There are good risks, such as farming and business ventures. In these, success depends more on work, skill and wisdom than on chance. Unlike lotteries, they are potentially productive, offering goods and services. Business investments benefit the government - and hence education - through providing jobs and taxes.
Society benefits if the state encourages wise choices, not foolish chances. Governments benefit more in the long run by encouraging the principles of honest labor, learning skills, saving for the future and productive ventures. They would pay less for welfare and crime prevention if they put a greater emphasis on useful work.
"Social systems...need to motivate and sustain individual effort through rewards and sanctions. But winnings from gambling, rewards for 'luck,' will not encourage people to learn skills or to be productive". Lotteries, by promoting luck, are cheating all of us, depriving society of the benefits of useful work.
Why do people play the lotteries? Most say they play for fun. But it wouldn't be fun if they didn't also hope to strike it rich. The Bible tells us the motive behind lotteries. For example, Proverbs 28:22: greed is a wrong desire and has bad results. Again, "He who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished" by life's adverse circumstances.
The other problem is that quickly won wealth is often quickly wasted. The person, not having worked for the money, doesn't always value it enough. Dishonest salesmen are anxious for a share. The owner of the wealth may begin to doubt the subsequent motives of friends and family. And wealth can create a new set of management problems-problems with which the person has little experience.
Winnings don't automatically improve personalities or give financial wisdom or character. They Quickly won - or otherwise attained - wealth doesn't bring a fantasy world.