Vice Squad
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Life is Elsewhere II

My guest blogging at Crescat Sententia this week has produced this post on
drug searches, this post on a recommended drug policy book, and another
post on the Illinois Lottery that I will reproduce below. (Oh no, do I own the
copyright or does Crescat? All those Crescat folks are going to be lawyers in
a few years, and then I will be doomed!).......

The Chicago Tribune reports today (registration required) that the state will award eight $25,000 prizes to lucky winners. How to compete for one of the prizes? Sorry, you have to be one of the 8,000 Illinois State Lottery retailers; further, you have to show up to one of two "brainstorming" sessions, the purpose of which is "to generate ideas about how to perk up interest in state-run games-of-chance that have seen flat or declining sales in recent years." With the prizes, lottery officials expect 600 retailers to show up for the deadly dull proceedings. Without the excitement of a prize drawing, approximately zero retailers would show -- oops, that's not what the lottery spokeswoman said. According to the article, she figures that 'People will come anyway, but I think it will be probably better attended with added incentives.' "Probably"? (Can you just show up, register for the drawing, and leave? Are your chances of winning affected by the quality of your contribution to the brainstorming? What if you have really bad ideas, like putting up billboards in poor neighborhoods claiming that the residents could move from their street to easy street by playing the lottery? What, the Illinois State Lottery already did that?)

Not to worry, citizens of Illinois, it's not as if the money could be put to a better purpose: "The awards will come from a pool of up to $20 million in unclaimed prize money that the state can use to either promote the lottery or bolster school funding."

I don't think much will come from these meetings, which motivates me to make a suggestion. Why not hold a lottery for people who show up for a meeting to discuss how the lottery retailers' brainstorming meetings can be improved? A meta-meta-lottery!

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