In the United States, state governments receive about a third of each lottery jackpot. Reuters reported that, “at least 11 states are now generating more money from lotteries than from state corporate taxes.”
While it might seem like a good idea to use the lottery to fund education and other social initiatives, some critics argue that the funds don’t really help the system as advertised. They also question whether the money is actually helping to fight problem gambling or if it’s just encouraging people who already have problems to gamble more.
Those who argue against the lottery say that it’s an unfair burden for those who can’t afford to pay. They also claim that it increases gambling addiction, which is bad for the economy.
Critics also say that many states don’t invest the proceeds in education. Instead, they use them to pay for other state projects like roadwork and bridgework.
Some states, such as Maryland, even use lottery profits to pay for stadiums. In fact, lottery proceeds paid the debt on Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, and M&T Bank Stadium, where the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens play.
In Michigan, for example, lottery sales generate a year-round revenue stream for local businesses and give a boost to K-12 education. In fiscal year 2021, the Michigan Lottery contributed over $1.419 billion to the state’s School Aid Fund. This money is earmarked to support education, health and safety services throughout the state.