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Luck of the draw

The National Lottery is part of a meretricious culture of pure luck. Mark Freedland and Ross McKibbin regret the eclipse of more demanding forms of betting

By Mark Freedland   January 1998

We need neither like nor dislike lotteries to recognise that the National Lottery has had a profound effect on British life. When its jackpot reached ?40m, tickets were sold to the equivalent of 90 per cent of the adult population. In its first financial year the amount spent on gambling in Britain rose by a third. This need not be a disaster. Many countries have lotteries; good causes-from the Sydney Opera House to hospitals-are funded by them. Furthermore, like most forms of gambling, they give pleasure: in anticipation; in winning; in thinking that next time we shall be lucky. Things…

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