Fun Quote For The Day

Scratch-off tickets are to the lottery what crack is to cocaine.
- ELIOT SHAPLEIGH, Texas state senator.

I had a good chuckle on this one. Obviously Mr. Shapleigh doesn’t realize that all forms of lottery are really just a voluntary tax on people who are bad at math (statistics, generally, and probability in the specific sense).

17 Responses to “Fun Quote For The Day”

  1. Lisa Says:

    well it’s good to see that guy spending his federal disability money on scratch off tickets and not crack.

  2. Christopher Radulich Says:

    Since gambling probably vies with prostitution as the worlds oldest profession the senator has no clue as to what he speaks. Now ask yourself this. Which has a greater chance of happening - A high school drop out becoming a multimillionaire ceo or the same person winning the lotto.

  3. windspike Says:

    My bet is with the high school drop out. He or she has more potential.

  4. rube cretin Says:

    never bought one. but a highly educated friend buys them every week. Says everyone must have hope of some kind.

  5. Christopher Radulich Says:

    so windspike

    exactly when do you become a ceo or a multimillionaire?

  6. windspike Says:


    I’m not sure what your line of questioning is leading up to. Can you get to the main point instead beating around the bush. Bill gates is a college drop out. You could be CEO of your own company if you started one. That’s not hard to do. All you need is enough capital and a good idea. Most businesses fail in the first fie years, however.

    In terms of education, can you track down how lotter dollars are actually spent on education, as it would directly benefit the children of America?

    Or are you asking me when I’m going to become a CEO or Multimillionaire? If that’s your question, I won’t ever become a CEO as I am in education, thus we don’t have those types who are extravagantly paid for the work they do. On the millionaire status, I’m working on it, but as my father always said, you become wealthy very slowly, and poor rather quickly. It all depends on the choices you make.

    What about you? Do you have answers for your own questions?

  7. christopher Radulich Says:

    The answer is that the lottery is a surer bet for me becoming a multimillionaire than any other way. I’m not going to start my own business and the odds are that would fail. I’m 59 with 2 as degrees, 1 bachelors, and half a masters. I alway got top reviews and raises as management in the phone company. None of this resulted in my being a ceo or being a mutlimillionaire, The overwhelming majority of us are not going to be bill gates ( who was not a high school drop out) or steve jobs. The odds on winning the lottery are the best game in town for most people.

    That said I do not advocate spending rent or food money on the lottery. But there is nothing wrong with spending movie money.

  8. windspike Says:

    I would suggest that the probability of becoming a millionaire on your own sweat equity is a better risk than tossing money down the lottery hole. Of course, the amount of work required to earn money over stealing it or winning it is a lot less attractive and sexy than jumping up and down after your numbers are drawn. It’s a lot like losing weight. If exercise was a pill that you could swallow once a day, there wouldn’t be a problem with obesity like we have today. The easy way out or up may seem more attractive as an option, but you are better off working hard and saving the money you earn. The interest alone says a dollar is much better even in the worst savings account than being tossed into the voluntary tax that is the lottery. You can’t earn interest on that money. Ben Franklin was right more than once - I think he’s the one who said a penny saved is a penny earned. Also, I think he’s the one who said that people who would trade liberty for security are deserving of neither.

    Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are only the recognizable list of people who have made it with out the complete course of formal education. What about Warren Buffet? Did he graduate from college? I’m almost certain that to be successful in business you don’t need an MBA. It’s not required. Look at the kids to founded facebook with offers of over a billion dollars for their company?

    I say, if you are going to take a risk, risk the money on yourself not some lottery with a infinitesimal probability of winning. A lottery ticket is false hope. Investing in yourself - which should not be confused with entertaining yourself - is a much safer bet and almost always has a higher ROI.

  9. Christopher Radulich Says:


    What can I say besides your wrong your wrong. I see your not a millionaire and I’d bet you you don’t know any. So I quess one can confer from that that you and your friend are a shiftless lot, unable to put hard work in. Most new businesses fail with in the first five years.

    Why is the lottery a voluntary tax? Are football pools at work a voluntary tax? Are slot machines a voluntary tax?. Is the local numbers game a voluntary tax?

  10. christopher Radulich Says:

    By the way putting 4 dollars a week for 30 years and getting 5% annually compounded daily will net you 14,483.90 before taxes and inflation.

  11. windspike Says:

    Lotteries are run by the governments in most States. Thus, only those who toss the cash at them are pitching it to the State coffers - thus making it voluntary.

    How do you know how close to millionaire status I am? I invest in the markets and have made a tidy sum on the backs of others. I also invest in my house - and in my neighborhood, this isn’t too bad an investment.

    I’m on my way. Are you resigned to meager living unless you hit it big? You have a long wait my friend. I hope you are putting away more than four bucks a week. You can’t even get a cup of Starbucks for that little. It won’t do you any good in the long run. Even so, it’s better than spending it on a lottery ticket and the false hope it provides.

    A commentator over on my personal blog stipulates the follow:

    You can’t lose if you don’t play

    When the odds are 7 million to 1, and the pot is $7 million, a $1 ticket looks like a dollar’s worth of risk for $1 - an even bet - but it isn’t because the payout of the $7 million takes place over 20 years. On a discounted cash flow basis, the prize is worth less than half the amount advertised.

    It isn’t just statistics or odds, the unsophisticated public is being robbed by state-sponsored fraud.

  12. christopher Radulich Says:

    You can’t even get a cup of Starbucks for that little. It won’t do you any good in the long run.

    Exactly. So if you send it on a cup of coffee or on a lottery ticket you still do not have four dollars. If you spend it on coffee it can never provide any future benefit.

    You still haven’t said why you call it a tax.

  13. windspike Says:

    At least with the coffee, I get the caffeine. If I spend the four bucks on the lottery all I get is minus four bucks. It’s a voluntary tax because you don’t have to contribute if you don’t want ti and the money is supposed to go to such things as improving our schools. If you can trace that, more power to you. I’m in education and I haven’t actually figured out how that money trickles down to us. At least in my state the lottery is run by the government of the state and they have a large infrastructure to support it. The main mission of the lottery is as follows:

    On November 6, 1984, 58% of California’s voters approved Proposition 37, the California State Lottery Act. The Act provides that at least 34% of the Lottery revenues must go to public education. This supplemental funding provides schools with additional resources to meet their locally determined needs.

    Hence I call it a voluntary tax.

    Good luck playing your way to good fortune and happy new year Chris.

  14. christopher Radulich Says:

    This is also a discussion on comparative values. I have never understood why anyone would pay $4.00 and up for a cup of coffee. To me a lottery ticket has infinitely more value.

    tax (tāks) Pronunciation Key

    1. A contribution for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the domain of that government.
    2. A fee or dues levied on the members of an organization to meet its expenses.
    3. A burdensome or excessive demand; a strain.

    by your definition those paying fees for mineral, oil or land use to the government are actually paying a voluntary tax. In fact you could say that every time you buy something you are paying a tax to that corporation.

  15. windspike Says:


    You and I have different values. I’d rather have a double machiato over a lottery ticket any day. The false hope a lottery ticket offers alone would exasperate me.

    I would think that when people voluntarily toss large sums and small sums of dollars into the state treasury under the false pretense that the lottery would help you become wealthy constitutes a voluntary tax, particularly on those who are bad at math - and so I’ve come full circle on this post. I didn’t say it was a required tax. Hence the qualifier voluntary. Under the purpose of the lottery in many states, it fits the item 2 in your definition. What other reason is there for a lottery? To provide hope or to lead people into a gambling addiction?

  16. Paul Watson Says:

    I fail to see why you can’t both work hard and play the lottery. I know the chances of winning are astronomically against. I’ve got a masters degree in statistics, so that kind of basic maths isn’t difficult. but the risk to reward ratio is pretty good for me. It’s £52 a year. That is money I can easily afford without compromising any of my other hobbies. As such, why not? In the highly unlikely event my numbers come up, I’ve just changed my life for a tiny investment. If they don’t, I’ll keep working and get ahead the normal way. I can’t see the downside from my position.

    It’s like any other form of gambling, as long as you’re not betting the rent money and know you’re not likely to win, where’s the harm. I’ve lost as much as I spend in a year on the lottery at a casino in one night, but it was a good night out so I don’t mind.

  17. windspike Says:

    There was another article today in the Times articulating just the concern here:

    State lawmakers like to say that lottery revenues go to education. That doesn’t excuse the damage done. In any case, a large chunk of the revenues go to the lottery’s own expenses, including prize payouts and salaries. States, meanwhile, have failed to invest in treatment programs for people who lose their shirts, homes and dignity playing the lottery and other games the states have dreamed up.

    They can dress it up all they want in slogans about buying a ticket and a dream. But the states are encouraging behavior that is too often addictive and ruinous for people who can least handle the burden.

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