US government funding: What about a Federal Lottery?

Many States in the US have a State Lottery that is used to enhance revenue. What about having such a thing at the Federal level? You could buy tickets for the IRS Lottery anywhere in the US and the revenue would go into the Federal treasury instead of the state or territorial one.

Would such a thing be legal (e.g. does Congress have the Constitutional power to create one?), and would it work politically? I’d guess that some states are going to be upset at having to compete with the feds for gambler’s money, e.g. “Buy an Illinois lottery ticket next time, we have 5% greater returns than the IRS lottery!”

I question whether lotteries actually “enhance” revenue. In many states over time, lottery revenue becomes a poor substitute for dedicated state budget funding. And state revenue from the lottery is not as large as you might think:

Yea, compared to other federal revenues, a lotto doesn’t seem like it would raise very much money. And it would take away from state lotto revenues.

And on a philosophical level, I’m not really a fan of the gov’t giving itself a monopoly to run a businesses inorder to raise revenue. If there’s demand for lottos, and we decide lottos aren’t some sort of social ill, then the State should let the private sector run lottos (which the State can then tax). If the State needs money, it should raise taxes.

The only real justification for state-run lotteries is that they utterly superceded the old organized crime run numbers games.

Lotteries are regressive, prey on the stupid and vulnerable, and only provide a modest revenue stream.

You might argue, hey, a tax on stupidity is exactly what we need! Except the stupid already face enough challenges in their lives, do we really need to actively try to make things harder for them? Wouldn’t it be better to, you know, help them? Or at least not intentionally fuck them over?

Only if a male and female child between the ages of 9 and 18 were selected from each state as tributes to represent their home states in a battle royale to the death.

There doesn’t need to be a lotto, only healthy competition. The Fed lotto would get you higher winnings, but you’d compete against more people. The state one is small, but there are less playing it.

One can rationally play the lottery.

Although even having said that, the stupid fuck me over in a gazillion ways anyway. There are so many policies that we wouldn’t have if everyone could evaluate things rationally. Fuck the stupid.

The stupid ruined my effort to make lawn darts an Olympic sport!

Sure. The main point of these rational strategies is never buy any lottery tickets. Just collect the prizes from tickets you find lying in the street.

We have a federal lottery. It costs millions to enter. Then the rest of us pay for the prize. We keep losing money on it though. Can’t figure out exactly why, but they say we have to give the winners more money, so maybe that will fix it.

Well, on rare occasions a lottery’s prize can grow large enough that the expected return exceeds the price of a ticket. Then it could be rational in some sense to play — although I can’t imagine that changing the calculus for anyone.

I entirely agree. Lotteries are completely immoral. I can’t understand why anyone would think they’re justified just because they raise money for education. Should the government also sell crack to raise money for education? Should the government run prostitution rings to raise money for education? Immorality is immorality, even if it raises money for education.