National News

Lottery accused of ‘systemic racism’ after massive Powerball payout

By Nikolas Lanum | Fox News


A CNN piece on Wednesday spoke with critics knocking the lottery system as a form of systemic racism that targets poor Black and Brown communities across America.

The largest Powerball jackpot lottery ticket ever was recently sold in Altadena, California, with one lucky resident winning a historic $2.04 billion. The odds were 1 in 292.2 million.

Researchers told CNN that despite the extremely low chance of winning, state lotteries still aggressively market the lottery and sell tickets to low-income communities at higher rates, thus misleading Americans to believe it will help them quickly generate wealth.

“These communities are disproportionately made up of Black and Brown people. Critics say the consequence is that marginalized people will be driven into deeper debt by a system that is transferring wealth out of their communities,” CNN’s Nicquel Terry Ellis and Justin Gamble wrote.

Les Bernal, the national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, called the lottery a form of “consumer financial fraud” and a form of “systemic racism.”

According to the research, lotteries are a regressive service, with low-income groups paying larger chunks of their budget on games versus their wealthier counterparts. Additionally, more money is spent on instant scratch-off games versus drawings like Powerball.

The piece also highlighted how stores selling lottery tickets are more likely to be located in poor communities of every state. The state money generated from the lottery sales often do not feed back into the communities, but rather into colleges and higher-income school districts.

CNN also pointed to a report from 1999, which found that Black Americans, high-school dropouts and low-income people played the lottery on a more frequent basis.

Jonathan Cohen, cited in the piece, appeared to disagree with the racial angle pushed by many researchers CNN spoke with. He claimed that the lottery often sees more players when the economy is suffering.

“And for folks who, especially Black and Brown Americans, maybe face discrimination in the traditional economy, well, the lottery doesn’t discriminate, anyone has just as terrible odds of winning,” Cohen said.

Fox News Digital recently spoke with a Philadelphia lawyer who explained how to walk away with the most money and the least collateral damage, should you find yourself in the extremely unlikely position of winning the lottery.

Andrew Santana, co-chair of the corporate department at Philadelphia law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, said not to sign the ticket until you fully understand whether you or the signatory’s information will become public.

It is important not to tell anyone “other than an attorney engaged specifically to assist in claiming the prize,” he said, and “the people with whom you jointly purchased the ticket, if any.”

If you want to remain an anonymous winner, and you’re working with an attorney to maintain anonymity, it’s best to keep your normal routine until you’re prepared for questions about the prize, he also said.

Fox News’ Deirdre Reilly contributed to this report. 

November 14, 2022

About Author