Privatizing State Lotteries

Download Audio

George Washington played the lottery. So did Ben Franklin. So did millions of Americans last week, when one multi-state jackpot soared to $390 million dollars. Georgia truck driver Ed Nabors isn't driving a truck for a living any more after his take from that pot. But it's not just cash-strapped truck drivers looking to cash in.

Around the country, cash-strapped state governments are thinking about selling off their lotteries to private investors. Taking the money, if you will, up front. Getting billions right now by privatizing their lotteries for decades.

Gambling experts predict that if one goes private, they all will. And we'll have lottery fever — regressive, addictive, big money - on steroids.

This hour On Point: states lick their chops over privatizing the lottery.


David Schaper, NPR correspondent in Chicago

Charles Clotfelter, profesor of economics at Duke University, co-author of "Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America."

Sebastian Sinclair, president of Christiansen Capital Advisors, working with Illinois on efforts to privatize its lottery

Edward Ugel, author of forthcoming book "Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of America's Lottery Millions"

This program aired on March 12, 2007.


More from On Point

Listen Live