In a time when state governments are under pressure to expand their array of services without especially onerous taxes on working people and the middle class, lottery proponents argue that it is a way for them to do so by providing a revenue source with relatively low cost. Government at every level becomes dependent on this “painless” revenue and is always under pressure to increase its participation in, and profits from, the lottery.

In the years since New Hampshire introduced the modern era of lottery in 1964, gambling spending has boomed. People who never gambled before are now buying tickets in order to win a few million dollars. Some of them say they can use that money to help their children, or the elderly, or someone else in need.

There is also the inextricable fact that a lot of people plain old like to gamble. These are the people whose bills we see on highway billboards that proclaim “Mega Millions” and “Powerball”. Many of these folks have quote-unquote systems (again, not borne out by statistical reasoning) about which stores are lucky, when to buy tickets, and what types of ticket to buy.

These people are defying the Biblical commandment against coveting, which states that you cannot covet “your neighbor’s house, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbors” (Exodus 20:17). They may be hoping that, if they just hit the jackpot, all their problems will go away.

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