CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois lottery sold a record $2.3 billion in tickets in 2010.
That represents a 3 percent increase from the $2.2 billion sold in 2009, the old sales mark.
Of that amount, $690 million was used to support state programs. Education got most of the money ($632 million), but statewide construction projects got $54 million and $4 million went to causes like research on breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.
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Illinois lottery director Jodi Winette says its low-cost entertainment and a kick even if you win small.
“It’s the anticipation of winning something,” she said. “A life-changing jackpot, but even a hundred bucks is kind of a kick.
“In the middle of a down week, why not?”
The Rev. Phillip Blackwell, senior pastor, first United Methodist Church and a member of the Illinois Anti Gambling Task Force, says the lottery is simply a “back door” tax–which targets the poor.
“That’s one way that they can shake people down for money,” Blackwell said. “Rather than do it as taxing though the front door, it becomes taxing through the back door. I see that as exploitative, but I am sure they see that as progress.
“I think they are selling a dream that is really bogus.”