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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Fleecing the suckers

This is why Gov. Daniels' plan to privatize the lottery is a horrible idea, no matter how worthwhile the deeds he wants to fund with the profits:

The Hoosier Lottery has a mediocre track record, with more than half of U.S. lotteries boasting higher sales per resident.

[. . .]

The idea is facing some tough opposition, in part because doing so will mean turning over operations to a private company that will try to maximize the lottery's potential, most likely by wringing as much cash as possible from Hoosiers' pockets.

[. . .]

The bill being considered would require a company to pay the state at least $1 billion upfront and $200 million a year for 30 years.
[. . .]
It's a tall economic order.
Only twice has the lottery topped $200 million in profits: in fiscal 2006, when it made $218 million, and in 1999, when it made $204 million. That means any company that took over would have to increase profits significantly to make the deal worthwhile.
Daniels thinks that's possible.

It is not good public policy to fund virtue with vice. Daniels is deliberately setting out to increase the amount of money spent on gambling, in a game in which the chance of winning is worse than the chance of getting hit by a meteor. The state is already in the business of fleecing the suckers; this will just increase their number. The governor's privatization efforts represent a worthy experiment as long as they don't go too far. On this one, "too far" can be seen in the rearview mirror.