Many state politicians have complained in the past about Indiana's relatively poor return on the money Washington takes from Hoosiers. But it turns out the state is not much better in returning money to the places that spend the most on the lottery: Because of the 1996 move to reduce auto excise fees by using state lottery money, the counties with the most assessed value of motor vehicles, which tend to be the better-off ones, get the most money back. Counties with the least assessed value of vehicles, which tend to be the poorest, get the least. This means places where people buy the most lottery tickets don't exactly get a "fair" return:
For example, Marion County players spend $3.55 on lottery tickets for every dollar returned from a pool of money funded mostly by lottery profits and tracked by the State Budget Agency. Hamilton County, the state's richest, spends only $1.19 on lottery tickets for every dollar that comes back.
Horrifying, isn't it, that there might be something unfair about a lottery that returns only 61 percent of sales as prizes, compared with other forms of gambling's returns, such as the 90 percent for slot machines. Oh, and this just in:
Experts widely agree that the poor play the lottery in disproportionate numbers, the Star reported, and a marketing survey for the Hoosier Lottery in 2005 concluded that 67 percent of lottery players have household incomes of less than $50,000, compared with 58 percent of the general population.
Rich people don't buy lottery tickets? Just poor people who think there's an easy way out? Who knew?