December 01, 2012
Why Are Our Broadcasters So Positive About Our State-Run Numbers Rackets?

If you watched TV news in the last day or two, you must have seen one or more of our broadcasters celebrating an extreme case of redistribution from (mostly) poor and working class people to a few newly-minted millionaires.

Every time this happens, the talking heads seem to agree that this was a wonderful result, and they say that, even though most of them favor redistribution in the other direction.

I can't recall seeing any TV talking head say anything negative about these numbers rackets, other than a very occasional warning note about gambling addictions.

And the state lotteries are numbers rackets, though they don't pay as well, or offer as good service.

Today, many state lotteries offer similar "daily numbers" games, relying typically on mechanical devices to draw the number.  The state's rake is typically 50% rather than the 20%-40% of the numbers game.  The New York Lottery and Pennsylvania Lottery, even use the names "Numbers" and "Daily Number", respectively. Despite the existence of legal alternatives, some gamblers still prefer to play with a bookie for a number of reasons.   Among them are the ability to bet on credit, better payoffs, the convenience of calling in one's bet on the telephone, the ability to play if under the legal age, and the avoidance of government taxes.

It's true that these numbers rackets contribute to the government, but it is also true that some gangsters contribute to private charities (and, in many areas, supplement the salaries of government employees).

Posted by Jim Miller at December 01, 2012 01:17 PM | Email This
Comments
1. I have mixed feelings about the state controlled numbers rackets.

On one hand I believe it is a suckers game, one in which I will not/do not participate.

On the other hand, it's a free country and if people want to throw good money after bad, who am I to tell them they can't? That their economic ignorance might fund schools [/eyeroll] is a bonus that might [/eyeroll] keep my taxes lower.

Conservatism is about freedom. That freedom includes the freedom to be stupid, the freedom to waste your OWN money, the freedom to believe in an incompetent Obama and the freedom to believe in lottery leprechauns who will let you win a pot of gold.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 1, 2012 01:49 PM
2. When you think about it, lotteries are really the antithesis of everything for which progressives stand.

Liberalism wants to protect us from ourselves in every aspect of our lives. Liberalism thinks we're too stupid to wear seat belts without a law. They think were too stupid to eat healthy, too stupid to protect our children, too stupid to protect the environment for our children, too stupid to home school, too stupid decide our own healthcare and on and on and on.

The state run numbers game is one place liberalism should protect those too stupid. That they don't says volumes.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 1, 2012 01:57 PM
3. Call them Regressives !

Posted by: KDS on December 1, 2012 02:09 PM
4. I like playing the lottery, but I don't suspect it'll make me rich. It's just entertainment and an endeavor into "what if I became a rich guy" fantasy for me.

The trick is to play these games with moderation. That's something each individual must develop on his or her own. It's not something in which the government should interfere.

Posted by: Politically Incorrect on December 1, 2012 03:18 PM
5. It's a tax for idiots. Sort of like a vote for Obama, except the lottery has better odds.

Posted by: Leftover on December 1, 2012 03:20 PM
6. .
Jim,
It was such a long time ago, but I thought you knew who brought Washington its "State-Run Numbers Racket"?

Had you forgot?

It was none other than the last Republican Governor of our fair state of Washington, John Spellman. Signed the legislation July 16, 1982 to fund education during the budget crisis caused by the Reagan Recession.

Was there any other significant lasting achievement the last Republican governor obtained other than getting your government into the Numbers Racket?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 1, 2012 03:34 PM
7. .
Oh, and I should add, for those of you who never knew, that when Republican Governor Spellman signed that legislation in 1982 it was legislation produced a Republican legislature.

The Republicans had a majority in both chambers, with a sizeable advantage in the House and a one-vote margin in the Senate.

Interesting isn't it?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 1, 2012 03:39 PM
8. Mike the BSer @6: Now, now. If it's the "Reagan Recession" then you must call this the "Obama Great Recession".

Your double standards (and Orwellian doublespeak) are showing.

Posted by: It Takes a Village to Convene a Grand Jury on December 1, 2012 03:47 PM
9. @9 You can call them whatever you like, but reality has a well known liberal bias.

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1818/reagan-recession-public-opinion-very-negative

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 1, 2012 03:55 PM
10. @9 Reality is perception which reflects a liberal bias due to the large number of low information voters.

Taking a different approach from the typical status-quo comments, it is time for conservatives to do something about that to offer an effective alternative - the last one who did such was Andrew Breitbart, but that movement seemed to die when he did back in March. Sad but true.

Posted by: KDS on December 1, 2012 04:34 PM
11. Why are you so worried about 'redistribution'. Do you want a caste system?

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 1, 2012 05:01 PM
12. @11 - Ridiculous comment. This is not India. Redistribution is asking for an economy like France, the old Soviet Union, Cuba or North Korea. Trademark of a low information voter.

There are low information voters - the regressives and then there is are low perception politicians - the GOP leadership.

Posted by: KDS on December 1, 2012 05:20 PM
13. @11 - Ridiculous comment. This is not India. Redistribution is asking for an economy like France, the old Soviet Union, Cuba or North Korea. Trademark of a low information voter.

There are low information voters - the regressives and then there are low perception politicians - the GOP leadership.

Posted by: KDS on December 1, 2012 05:20 PM
14. Don't worry, for the long-term our progressive, technocratic, righteous betters are working on a solution for ever more equality, a union-led working Washington, jobs for everyone, equality on boondoggled trains and help for all the salmon out there.

In the meantime, a bunch of people dealing with the realities of life, a depressed economy, their own nature etc. are going to buy lottery tickets and we'll pour some of that money into the bottomless pit of education, while still underperforming!

Progress!

Posted by: chr1 on December 1, 2012 05:24 PM
15. I mean for Christ's sake, we've got equality of marriage now, salmon running free from the evil dam, the Yesler Terrace utopia in the works....

This city's got Nicole Brodeur, more indie bands, more "art" and "creativity," more gardening men and more men on bicycles, and more unionized dockworkers that you can shake a stick at.

What more do you want?

A balanced budget?

Are you insane?

Posted by: chr1 on December 1, 2012 05:29 PM
16. Alright, enough of the sarcasm. Come out of your bubble and take a whiff of reality - face it, it is an uphill battle.

Posted by: KDS on December 1, 2012 06:23 PM
17. Dear MikeyBS, it doesn't matter which party put their hands out and signed the 'people are gullible' numbers racket into existence. THAT'S what you don't get. You seem all giggly with gotcha, so excited to place blame. Wrong is wrong. Stupid is stupid. The difference between us is that we'll call our moron's out for their wrongheadedness. Liberals won't.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 1, 2012 06:45 PM
18. Mike Bow Scout.
John Spellman was no more a Republican then than Darcy Burner is now.. He was Democrat that ran as a Republican because at the time Washington had not yet been polluted by the influx of Californians and the coming of voting age of the vast numbers of preprogrammed baby boomers. Come on mike, history can be read in books, but to truly understand it it must be lived. I lived it, you just read it. Who do you think understands the times better?

Posted by: Roger in Republic on December 1, 2012 09:00 PM
19. If a society is so stagnant that things never get redistributed, it dies. It's simply reality that things get distributed.

You are like ignoramuses observing a stream mistaking the ripple behind the boulder for a permanent thing. Your vision is OK, it's your mind that's skewed.

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 1, 2012 09:15 PM
20. If a society is so stagnant that things never get redistributed, it dies. It's simply reality that things get distributed.

You are like ignoramuses observing a stream mistaking the ripple behind the boulder for a permanent thing. Your vision is OK, it's your mind that's skewed.

Huh?

I sorta, kinda, almost understand what you are babbling about, but your confusion seems to be with coerced 'redistribution' and voluntary redistribution by free and fair trade and by the natural opportunity of the free market. You have the right to life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness, not the right to happiness by coerced redistribution.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 1, 2012 09:32 PM
21. Regressives like @19 always miss the big picture. Rags - why do you waste your time responding to that claptrap ? Try doing something more constructive.

They make up arguments - no one craves redistribution except commie/pinkos like him. Dork - Show some courage and move to a totalitarian dictatorship if you crave redistribution so much. Otherwise, stick it where the sun don't shine.

Every country in the world has it, but to varying degrees. End of story.

Posted by: KDS on December 1, 2012 11:12 PM
22. re 20: "You have the right to life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness, not the right to happiness by coerced redistribution."

Buying a lottery ticket and then winning the lottery is not coerced distribution. Paying a speeding ticket is coerced redistribution. Your little set of ideological blinders does not serve you well.

If Grover Norquist (a supposedly grown man who recently called Mitt Romney a 'Poopy Head')can inherit millions and then devote his life to forcing politicians to sign his childish 'no tax pledge', thereby undermining the security of the nation, so that he can hang on to those unearned millions, isn't that an example of coerced non-redistribution?

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 2, 2012 07:40 AM
23. @18 Roger in Republic on December 1, 2012 09:00 PM,
"John Spellman was no more a Republican then than Darcy Burner is now."

Wow. You're just a pile of stupid.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 2, 2012 08:15 AM
24. @17 RagnarDanneskold on December 1, 2012 06:45 PM,
"The difference between us is that we'll call our moron's out for their wrongheadedness. Liberals won't."

So, you'll be helping Roger in Republic understand that Governor Spellman was a Republican?
Will you also help him to understand that the Republican controlled state legislature which passed the lottery bill and the Republican Governor who signed it into law was "wrong" and "stupid"?

Yeah, I think that is going to happen some time after you pack your bags and move.

What I get Rags is that you are full of it.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 2, 2012 08:22 AM
25. .
Jim,
Maybe broadcasters don't have anything negative to say about state run "numbers rackets", but Joe Nocera over at the NYT has.

The Bad Luck of Winning

On the contrary, lotteries may well be the single most insidious way that state governments raise money. Many of the people who buy lottery tickets are poor; lotteries are essentially a form of regressive taxation. The odds against winning a big jackpot are astronomical -- far worse than the odds at an Atlantic City slot machine. The get-rich-quick marketing -- by government, let's not forget -- is offensive.

Hmmm, is it any wonder it was introduced into our state by a Republican controlled government?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 2, 2012 08:30 AM
26. Roger in Republic: John Spellman was no more a Republican then than Darcy Burner is now.

MBS: Wow. You're just a pile of stupid.

Yep. Or, if you want to buy into that claptrap for the sake of argument, it means that the WAGOP has not managed to elect a "real" Republican governor in 40 years. That's really sad. It says a lot about the party's descent into nuttery.

2012 was probably the best opportunity they've had in a long time. Open seat, plus the GOP ran a well-known "moderate" conservative who already held a prominent statewide executive branch office and who polled well at the outset. 2016 will probably be more difficult plus the GOP bench seems shallower than ever.

Anyone care to speculate on 2016 names?

Posted by: scottd on December 2, 2012 08:42 AM
27. @18 - Define what a "real Republican" would look like, say as Governor. Then, also ask, would they have any chance of winning (getting at least 40% of the vote in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties.

The assertion that a real Republican has not run for Governor for 40 years is off-base. In a blue state like this, McKenna or Rossi, who are more moderate get more traction than a more conservative Craswell ever would.

Posted by: KDS on December 2, 2012 09:07 AM
28. Buying a lottery ticket and then winning the lottery is not coerced distribution

This is true, however I consider gambling as a predatory business, and as a WA resident I am coerced to join in on the dirty deal.

If consenting adults want to do this, fine, but leave me out of the equation.

Posted by: travis t on December 2, 2012 10:59 AM
29. Anyone care to speculate on 2016 names?

Yep. ACTIONS:CONSEQUENCES

You got the guy you wanted, I want you to keep him.
Let me know how you feel about this in a few years...

By the way, do you suppose that's the same reason Gregoire has been off the news radar ...

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 2, 2012 11:43 AM
30. Bingo Travis.

EXACTLY like forced participation in paying for abortions

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 2, 2012 11:45 AM
31. re 30: How about forced participation in paying for wars?

Are you OK with that? Your examples of things that you are fit-to-be-tied about having to participate in by being a part of this society are trivial compared to a lot of other things.

They have a word for that: HYPOCRISY.

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 2, 2012 04:18 PM
32. Do you enjoy the protection the MILITARY affords you?
How about the freedom they protect?
How about the safety of democracy they foster?
Shall we let those who hate us just invade? Shall we not protect our allies? God, I'd hate to have to depend on you as a neighbor/friend.

It's called the common good of the NATION. How is abortion in the common good?

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 2, 2012 04:33 PM
33. MBS - Thanks for linking to the Nocera column. I had planned to do it myself, since it's a good summary of the objections to our state-run numbers rackets, but you beat me to it.

But I see that you have not even tried to answer the question posed in the post's title. But then neither has any other commenter.

It seems to me that possible answers to that question fall into two broad categories: (1) The news readers at channels 4, 5, 7, and 13 do not know about the objections to our numbers rackets and, (2) The news readers do know, but choose not to tell their viewers.

(Of course, different news readers might fall into each category.)

I am inclined to think that for most of our talking heads, (1) is the correct answer; they just have never thought much about the objections to these numbers rackets. It would interesting to have someone, John Carlson perhaps, outline Nocera's objections, and ask a few of them for reactions.

If they do know, commercial reasons might keep them from letting viewers know. The stations get some advertising from the numbers rackets and, I suspect, know that they attract some viewers for whom the daily number is the highlight of the news show.

(I suppose that I should add that I am not sure that I would close our numbers rackets down, now that we have them, if only because they might be replaced by numbers rackets run by even more unsavory characters. But I would definitely object to advertising them heavily in poor areas, as some states do.)

Posted by: Jim Miller on December 2, 2012 06:14 PM
34. Leftover - The two ways I like to summarize these numbers rackets is that they are (1) a tax on the innumerate and (2) that they are a tax on the willing,


(For the record, I should add that there are a few times when the expected value of a bet in one of these numbers rackets is actually positive, even after taxes. This can happen when you have games with cumulative prizes.

There was a Slate article, years ago, explaining the mathematical details. The analysis involved more math than you would get in the average grade school, but the author did show how to identify these rare situations.)

Posted by: Jim Miller on December 2, 2012 06:23 PM
35. re 31: "How is abortion in the common good?"

I thought that you were all about individual rights? You are the top-down authoritarian that the military is supposed to protct us against. And what's all this stuff now about the 'common good' over individual rights when it comes to your sacred cow: WAR?

Once again, you talk out of both sides of your mouth. They have a word for that: HYPOCRISY.

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 3, 2012 05:15 AM
36. @36 - By referring to @31 - you called yourself a hypocrite. That's one of the few honest things you have said !

Posted by: KDS on December 3, 2012 08:40 AM
37. The State of Washington takes a 50% rake off the top, but that isn't enough for them. Most winning tickets are in the $1 to $3 range, so what the fools who play these games do is immediately use the winnings to buy more tickets. What a scam!

Posted by: Moondoggie on December 3, 2012 12:48 PM
38. "@36 - By referring to @31 - you called yourself a hypocrite. That's one of the few honest things you have said !"

You just made the same mistake.

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 3, 2012 02:56 PM
39. @38 -Pathetic attempt, Dork. Your "i'm rubber you're glue" game may resonate in your sandbox, but it is cultural lameness in the adult world.

Posted by: KDS on December 3, 2012 03:09 PM
40. I thought that you were all about individual rights?

I am. I want to change hearts and minds, not waste my time tilting against (sorta) settled law. I never claimed anything otherwise. The SCIENCE of 3D and 4D ultrasounds helps me.

Of course, in your anxious haste to spew your screed and play 'gotcha', you never bothered to answer the question: "How is abortion in the common good?"

In the spirit of the season, 'We're all waiting for you, Frosty'.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 04:03 PM
41. re 39 -- I guess Republicans do have trouble with counting. If you'll notice, in # 36 -- which is YOUR comment -- you say; "@36 - By referring to @31 - you called yourself a hypocrite. That's one of the few honest things you have said !"

My comment is #35, not #36.

Why do I even bother attempting to straighten you out. You are just a nitwit and there is no cure for it.

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 3, 2012 04:21 PM
42. @40 RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 04:03 PM,

Abortion is a legal medical procedure. Answer your own question, how is medicine in the common good?

And when are you going to move to some swell Randroidian state where medical procedures are restricted?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 3, 2012 04:24 PM
43. "Legal" does not equal it GOOD medicine. Ask the women who are now infertile - or dead.

Cosmetic surgery is legal - there are far too many instances of it not being GOOD medicine. Abortion, like botox and butt tucks, is consumer CHOICE medicine, not medically necessary medicine.


Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 04:54 PM
44. "How is abortion in the common good?"

Because people like MBS and dorky love abortion and are a big part of the declining US birth rate. In the long run they will kill themselves off. An elegant solution to a faulty sense of life.

Posted by: Leftover on December 3, 2012 05:01 PM
45. Revised - @35 - By referring to @31 - you called yourself a hypocrite. That's one of the few honest things you have said !

My bad - a typo.

You initially referenced yourself - you are a leftist and once again you show that leftists have problems with numbers and simple math. BTW- I am an independent that leans conservative, and not a Republican. Now, go back to playing in your sandbox.

Posted by: KDS on December 3, 2012 05:24 PM
46. When a spam comment is removed,the numbers on the comments following it are changed.

I had to remove one this morning, which explains the confusion on the numbering.

Posted by: Jim Miller on December 3, 2012 06:20 PM
47. Jim@33, you ask a reasonable question. There's another factor in addition to the ones you suggest: The news programs (don't just blame the newscasters; it's also the writers and producers) are in the entertainment business. The stories they're reporting on are the big jackpots and winners -- naturally positive news. The daily frittering away of people's money is not an easy story to report on, nor very interesting to viewers.

Posted by: Bruce on December 3, 2012 06:21 PM
48. When a spam comment is removed,the numbers on the comments following it are changed.

I had to remove one this morning, which explains the confusion on the numbering.

Posted by Jim Miller at December 3, 2012 06:20 PM

Thanks for fessing up. Dork was blowing smoke. He did not bother to correct himself initially - a projection. Regressives can't count and only know rewritten history.

I retract the "My Bad" from @45.

Posted by: KDS on December 3, 2012 06:52 PM
49. @41 RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 04:54 PM,

You referred to the legal medical procedure of abortion as "CHOICE medicine".

First let me congratulate you on understanding that it is an issue of choice. One must accept progress no matter how small.

Second, can you name a medical procedure that is not "CHOICE medicine"?

Third, I must have missed where you identified you are a licenced medical doctor. What medical school did you graduate from and receive you MD degree from?
See, while you are free to operate or not on your own medical opinions, some people prefer the opinions of those who have some education and certification in the matter. It is, after all, a matter of personal health.

Lastly, for someone who bemoans others for not addressing your questions I noticed you did not answer mine. Let's try again with the bolding you like.

How is medicine in the common good?

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 3, 2012 06:52 PM
50. I suggest you visit the catacombs of Paris and see how LACK OF MEDICINE harmed the 'common good' of SIX MILLION.

In the same vein, I suggest you consider the AIDS epidemic of Africa,

I suggest you consider the Diphtheria outbreaks in third world countries with third world medicine.

I suggest you consider West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, Dengue Fever, Malaria, Cholera, Dysentery, Hepatitis A, B and C, Tuberculosis, Meningitis, Whooping Cough, Measles, Tetanus and Yellow Fever in those same counties.

One doesn't need a medical degree (although I do have a background in nursing - OOPSIE!), one just needs something sorely lacking in knee jerk 'gotcha' game playing liberals: COMMON SENSE.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 07:23 PM
51. re 45: You are an arrogant halfwit -- an annoying, but sometimes unintentionally amusing, twerp.

You, making the same mistake you are chiding someone else for, and then DEFENDING your nitwittery, is both annoying and funny -- a bifecta, as it were.

Posted by: dorky dorkman on December 3, 2012 07:24 PM
52. You are an arrogant halfwit -- an annoying, but sometimes unintentionally amusing, twerp.

Whoa!

When did Obama start posting here???
Darcy Burner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Downer Debbie Wasserman Schultz start posting here???

Who knew we attracted such .... 'elites'?

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 07:27 PM
53. Rags -- "How is medicine in the common good?"

The question is being asked in an ironic way. The Scout understands that medicine works for the common good. I don't see how you can be so obtuse. It's kind of amazing.

Posted by: dorkydorkman on December 3, 2012 07:31 PM
54. @50 RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 07:23 PM,

You did not answer the question, did you?
How is medicine in the common good?

"although I do have a background in nursing "

(1) Are you a nurse practitioner (NP or APRN)?
(2) Are you a Registered Nurse (RN)?
(3) Are you a Licensed practical nurse (LPN)?
(4) Or maybe you wiped asses while watching Marcus Welby, M.D.?

I'm sure you are convinced that visiting the "catacombs of Paris" or asking "dead women" is somehow equivalent to getting the advice of a medical doctor, but others don't see it the 4-D way you do.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on December 3, 2012 07:36 PM
55. I did answer the question and only a fool would pretend they didn't understand.

Is that you MikeBS?

We'll assume it must be because you need clarification.

Medicine in those third world counties is lacking hence they have those horrible diseases, while we in western countries with advanced medicine do not. The FACT that we do not suffer those horrendous diseases to the devastating extent of those sad, desperate countries is in our COMMON GOOD. It keeps us more productive. That productivity allows for more advances in our society.

Is that simple enough for you BS, or shall I break out the wooden alphabet blocks? Or, will bright colored refrigerator magnets hold your attention better?


I'm sure you are convinced that visiting the "catacombs of Paris" or asking "dead women" is somehow equivalent to getting the advice of a medical doctor, but others don't see it the 4-D way you do.

I doubt you even understand what it was you were trying to say with your blathering attempt at insult.

HINT: Insults only work when they make (even a modicum of) sense.
HINT 2: The recipient of the insult is not the one diminished by it.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on December 3, 2012 07:55 PM
56. For once, we agree on something. I don't think the state should be in the gambling business. There's something vaguely immoral about it. Maybe there'd be less impetus for it if we had a less regressive state taxation system.

Posted by: Roger Rabbit on December 3, 2012 08:51 PM
57. You, making the same mistake you are chiding someone else for, and then DEFENDING your nitwittery, is both annoying and funny -- a bifecta, as it were.

Posted by dorky dorkman at December 3, 2012 07:24 PM

Stop your whining. Just because you are too stupid to correct your mistake, you throw a tantrum. BTW, I was originally correct - you little phony Marxist.

Posted by: KDS on December 3, 2012 09:33 PM
58. re 58: You are the one who wants the government to "wither away" -- just like Karl Marx. You're not a phony communist; you are the real thing -- just too stoopid to know it.

Posted by: dorkydorkman on December 3, 2012 11:05 PM
59. The spam is coming thick and fast, so I am closing the post.

Posted by: Jim Miller on December 4, 2012 07:30 AM