After aggressively marketing itself in poor Black and Brown communities across the country, critics are accusing the lottery of “systemic racism,” according to a shocking CNN report. The piece, which was published on Wednesday, comes just a few days after one lucky resident of Altadena, California, won the enormous $2.04 billion grand prize with the largest Powerball lottery ticket ever sold. Researchers tell CNN that state lotteries still aggressively promoted and sold tickets to low-income communities at higher rates with the misleading promise of quickly generated wealth, despite the odds being infinitesimal at only 1 in 292.2 million. Black and Brown people make up a massive amount of these communities.
According to CNN’s Nicquel Terry Ellis and Justin Gamble, “the consequence is that marginalized people will be driven into deeper debt by a system that is transferring wealth out of their communities.”
Les Bernal, the national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, referred to the lottery as a type of “systemic racism” and “consumer financial fraud.” According to the findings of the researchers, lotteries are a regressive service, which means that groups with low incomes spend significantly more on them than those with tremendous wealth or income. Instant scratch-off games cost more money than Powerball and Mega Millions drawings. Additionally, according to CNN, lottery ticket retailers are more prevalent in economically disadvantaged areas of each state. Even worse, the state funds generated by lottery sales typically do not return to the communities, Instead, it is directed toward colleges and other school districts with higher incomes.
However, Jonathan Cohen, one of the individuals cited in the piece, stated that he disagreed with the racist perspective promoted by the other researchers CNN spoke with and added that the lottery frequently sees an increase in players during times of economic distress. Additionally, the lottery does not discriminate against individuals, particularly Black and Brown Americans, who may be subjected to discrimination in the traditional, Cohen stated.