The Ethics of Lottery

Essay by ohec1234University, Bachelor'sA, November 2014

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Erica Oh

Professor Mark Sentesy

Philosophy of the Person I

The Ethics of Lottery

Although outlawed by some countries, every inhabited continent has a lottery system implemented. In the United States alone, lottery sales totaled to $73 billion dollars for the 2012 fiscal year while global lottery sales has increased 8.5%, "down from a half-year on half-year increase in sales of 10.7%" (World Lottery Association). Considering the popularity of the lottery, the controversy associated with it may be puzzling to most. The subject of lottery does not usually create heated debates or receives much attention. However, similar to other deeply controversial matters, the problems and clashes that arise from this topic stems from ethical foundations and questions the morality of each reason for and against the issue.

Those for the implementation of the lottery argue that the revenue created by ticket sales is used for essential services to help society and can be donated to charitable groups and worthy causes.

A percentage of the state lottery revenue funds public schools and goes to different areas of state development such as job creation, economic development, state programs, and infrastructure. In Massachusetts, a state consistently ranked high for lottery revenue and ticket expenditure, 23 percent of the revenue goes to the Local Aid Fund (Dunstan). Some states have even pledged to donate all of the proceeds to educational needs. In fact, lotteries have been prominent throughout history and aided in significant and substantial public works as well. Ancient Greece, Japan, China, and India all had a lottery system in place. The Great Wall of China was funded partially by a lottery and as early as 1420; Europe used lotteries to fund infrastructure projects. Additionally, "high-value commodities such as land and art were often sold through lotteries" (Dunstan). In 1753, the British parliament...