Lucky to have it - Lottery is a good tax

CYNICS may see the National Lottery as a tax on stupidity.

That’s primarily because the Lotto has a lower payout than almost any other form of gambling yet millions indulge every week.

Even if it is, it is the only tax that you can choose to pay or not; the only one that has the prospect of making you richer rather than poorer, the only one that is a bit of fun and that people actually enjoy paying and the only one that many overseas visitors voluntarily pay as well.

The National Lottery began its operations with scratchcards in March 1987, replacing the old sweepstakes lottery that helped build hospitals.

Of greater significance, though, is the fact, 30 years on since the National Lottery began, it has raised almost €5bn for good causes, supporting projects in the areas of health, sport, arts, heritage, welfare, and the environment. Without it, we would probably have to pay even higher non-voluntary taxes to fund those areas of expenditure – and there’s nothing stupid about avoiding that hideous prospect.

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