It’s long been known that the odds of a person winning the lottery are not good; a person stands more of a chance of being struck by lightning. The saying “A lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math” or “A lottery is a tax on those who can’t do math” became popular on the Internet in 1993 and quickly became a bumper sticker slogan.
“The lottery is a tax on people who flunked math” has been attributed to Monique Lloyd since 1996, but it’s unlikely that Lloyd originated the saying that had been widely circulated since 1993.
A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize.
Lottery is outlawed by some governments, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery. It is common to find some degree of regulation of lottery by governments. At the beginning of the 20th century, most forms of gambling, including lotteries and sweepstakes, were illegal in many countries, including the U.S.A. and most of Europe. This remained so until after World War II. In the 1960s casinos and lotteries began to appear throughout the world as a means to raise revenue in addition to taxes.
Lotteries are sometimes described as a regressive tax, albeit a voluntary one, since those most likely to buy tickets, and to spend a larger proportion of their money on them, are typically less affluent people. The astronomically high odds against winning the larger prizes have also led to the epithets of a “tax on stupidity” and a “math tax”. Although the use of the word “tax” is not strictly correct, these descriptions are intended to suggest that lotteries are government-sanctioned operations which will attract only those people who fail to understand that buying a lottery ticket is a poor economic decision.
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value (referred to as “the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods. Typically, the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period.
The lottery: a tax on people who flunked math.
. Monique Lloyd
The lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
. A bumper sticker
Google Groups: comp.os.ms-windows.programmer.misc
From: (David Hoy)
Date: 2 Jul 1993 19:58:49 GMT
Local: Fri, Jul 2 1993 1:58 pm
Subject: “read-only” listbox?
The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.
Google Groups: alt.security
From: (Kevin Martinez)
Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1993 16:38:31 GMT
Local: Fri, Nov 5 1993 10:38 am
Subject: Re: Tempest attacks
The Lottery is a Tax on those who can’t do Math!
- heard on UseNet
19 September 1994, Network World, “Internetworking Monitor” by Scott Bradner, pg. 24, col. 4:
• Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
Subject: great definition
“The lottery: A tax on people who flunked math.”
Google News Archive
30 September 1996, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), “Reader offers bumper crop of road humor” by Dennis Romboy & Sharon Haddock, pg. B1, col. 6:
Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
29 November 1996, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, “Best way to survive the holidays: laugh” by Jack Mabley, sec. 1, pg. 16, col. 1:
Bumper stickers making the rounds on the Internet:
“Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.”
Google Groups: aus.stats.s
From: ("Daniel G.C. Rainham")
Subject: RE: [S] error message at session’s dawn
“The lottery is a tax on people who flunked math.” --Monique Lloyd
Wall Street Journal
MAY 30, 2002.
Years After Scandal, Millions Continue to Avoid Nanny Tax .
By TOM HERMAN
Notable and Quotable: “Basic tax, as everyone knows, is the only genuinely funny subject in law school,” says Washington lawyer Martin Ginsburg. ... Mr. Ginsburg’s quip is part of a large collection of tax-related wit and wisdom compiled by Jeffery L. Yablon, a Washington lawyer at Shaw Pittman, and published in a recent issue of Tax Notes, a weekly publication based in Arlington, Va. ... The Yablon collection also includes this quote attributed to “anonymous”: “A lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.”
Washington (DC) Post
Eww . . . it’s a lottery ad
D.C. ‘intervention’ campaign steps into something unpleasant
By Joe Heim, Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:14 AM
Lotteries, as the bumper sticker saying goes, are a tax on people who are bad at math.
Boston (MA) Globe
Beacon Hill surrenders to casinos
September 03, 2011|By Renée Loth
An anonymous wag put it best: Gambling is “a tax on people who are bad at math.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics • (0) Comments • Tuesday, December 20, 2011 • Permalink