A columnist in St. Petersburg, Florida is upset by the claims of the lottery commission in that state that the games are helping education. He notes that the lottery was sold by promising that all proceeds would benefit the schools but the percentage of the state budget allocated to education dropped more than the profit from the games has added. On top of that lottery advertising fosters the public perception that the lottery has "solved" education funding problems in Florida making it difficult to discuss ways to increase school spending.
But this isn’t a new story. The same thing happened here in Virginia and in many other states. Lottery games (or casino gambling in some areas) were pushed into existence with promises to solve all the funding problems for education, or the elderly, or something else. In 2003 we’re hearing similar hype for a baseball stadium around here. I just hope the number of suckers has declined as fast as lottery funding for schools.