If public lottery pimps were private corporate entities, they'd be charged with predatory behavior. To entice their at-risk target audience of elderly citizens and low-wage workers, state officials saturate the airwaves around the first of each month. Why? As a candid advertising plan for the Ohio Super Lotto directed many years ago:Yes, and something like half of Michigan's lottery terminals are located south of Eight Mile Road.
"Schedule heavier media weight during those times of the month where consumer disposable income peaks. ... Government benefits, payroll and Social Security payments are released on the first Tuesday of each calendar month.''
Billboards in Chicago slums claim lottery purchases "could be your ticket out." The Illinois lottery lures players to "joy someone with holiday scratch-offs." In Maine, an analysis by Cornell University and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting last fall found: "For every one percent increase in joblessness in a given zip code, lottery sales jump 10 percent, the original research shows. And people in Maine's poorest regions spend as much as 200 times more person than those in wealthier areas."
But until the mainstream financial sector stops nickel-and-diming small investors in ways that don't gain market share from the poverty industry, the lottery ticket looks like a good investment.
Even on days when there aren't big jackpots: I suspect I've griped before about wanting to get a cup of coffee at a convenience store and had to wait while several people in front of me bought their lottery tickets and their Marlboros, always in a box.