Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts And Other Busyness

National Lottery Making Poor People Poorer

Squall 11, Autumn 1995, pg 11.

A report in the British Medical Journal published in July suggests the national lottery is likely to make the poor poorer.

Using evidence based on a lottery system in operation in the United States, the article says that it is mostly poor people who buy lottery tickets in the hope of improving their financial status. A US study has shown that lottery sales increase with rising unemployment and that, since the National Lottery started in Britain, there has been a 17% increase in calls to Gamblers Anonymous, 20% of which are related to the lottery.

The British public now spends more money on the lottery than it does on bread or books. The effect of this, says the article, is that the money levied by the lottery is mainly at the expense of those that can least afford it.

Another study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene, also showed that a tiny reduction in the income of a poor person can have a big effect on how many nutrients they eat. The article concludes: “Anything that makes poor people in Britain even poorer, especially if they do not derive benefits in kind, becomes an important public health issue.”