Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You Call This Living?

You would think that with the $6.6 billion tax hike that passed the Minnesota legislature yesterday that our state would lay off attempts to pick its citizens pockets for a while. You would be wrong.

As Chad points out, an amendment to further increase the state sales tax will be on the ballot this November. But there is another pocket picking measure that goes into effect today. You may soon hear about it if you listen to the radio (there are TV ads too). Listen my friends and you shall hear, a crappy rock band singing loud and clear:

You're livin' large
You're livin' large
You're livin' large
With the $20 scratch game!

That's right, today is the first day that a $20 scratch-off lottery ticket will be available in Minnesota. Previously, to waste $20 of hard earned money one would have to purchase two $10 tickets, four $5 tickets, or some combination of the above and/or $1, $2 or $3 tickets.

The lottery suggests players have nearly a 1 in 3 chance of "winning" a prize of up to half a million dollars. In reality, it's a little less than a 1 in 6 chance, becasue the most common prize is $20, the cost of the ticket. I'm sure the suckers who break even could really use that $20. The lottery does admit that the chances of drawing the $500,000 ticket are one in 300,000. They don't tell you that once all the tickets are sold, the average loss per ticket will be $5.55, significantly higher than any other ticket in the history of the Minnesota lottery.

The sad thing is people will play. Many won't be able to afford it. Even for those who can, think about it. Your alternative to scratching a ticket for $20 could be:

- Buy two tickets to a movie and get popcorn too
- Enjoy three burritos with chips at Chipotle
- Enjoy three pints of your favorite import at Keegan's pub
- Play 9 holes of golf at your municipal golf course
- Put half a tank of gas into a mid-sized car

Of course, you wouldn't be living large.


Blogger DiscordianStooge said...

Three burritos at Chipotle? Oh, you'd be livin' large after a few months of that, let me tell you.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Barb Acoa said...

Three burritos at Chipotle? Welcome to Saturday night with the NIGP.

4:36 PM  

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