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State Lotteries
by [?]

For in a State lottery–with daily prizes of L50,000–the game (or gambling) element does not exist. Buy your L100 bond, as a thousand placards will urge you to do, and you simply take part in a cold-blooded attempt to acquire money without working for it. You can take no personal interest whatever in the manner of acquiring it. Somebody turns a handle, and perhaps your number comes out. More probably it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you can call yourself a fool for having thrown away your savings; if it does–well, you have got the money. May you be happy with it! But you have considerably less on which to congratulate yourself than had the street-corner boy who backed Bronchitis. He had an eye for a horse. Probably you hadn’t even an eye for a row of figures.

Moreover, the State would be giving its official approval to the unearned fortune. In these days, when the worker is asking for a week of so many less hours and so many more shillings, the State would answer: “I can show you a better way than that. What do you say to no work at all, and L20 a week for it?” At a time when the one cry is “Production!” the State adds (behind its hand), “Buy a Premium Bond, and let the other man produce for you.” After all these years in which we have been slowly progressing towards the idea of a more equitable distribution of wealth, the Government would show us the really equitable way; it would collect the savings of the many, and re-distribute them among the few. Instead of a million ten-pound citizens, we should have a thousand ten-thousand-pounders and 999,000 with nothing. That would be the official way of making the country happy and contented. But, in fact, our social and political controversies are not kept alive by such arguments as these, nor by the answers which can legitimately be made to such arguments. The case of the average man in favour of State lotteries is, quite simply, that he does not like Dr. Clifford. The case of the average man against State lotteries is equally simple; he cannot bear to be on the same side as Mr. Bottomley.