Advertising State lotteries: is it a good deed?

Can buying lotteries be a good deed?  The government says so in its advertisements for Kerala lotteries. It argument may seem right as the revenues from the Karunya lotteries of State government is to be spent for funding assistance to poor patients requiring treatment for serious ailments affecting vital organs of the body.

Lotteries nurture the instinct for gambling. Everybody knows that most of the buyers of the lottery never benefit from it whereas the seller always benefits. However, running of lotteries by the government has been justified on the ground that it provides employment to many and satisfy the urge of the people to try their luck. The justifications get a boost when the government saysTelevision advertisement for Kerala Lotteries that the returns are to be used to fund care of critically ill patients. It also serves as a good marketing strategy for the State lotteries.

However, the picture changes when one examines these arguments from another perspective. The government is resorting to creation of non-productive employment instead of creating real employment opportunities.  Free treatment of poor patients for serious ailments is not a priority of government: it is not willing to spend tax revenues for the purpose; but want people with gambling instinct to do the job. It is promoting the instinct by using fund raising aspect of the lottery for marketing purposes and terming it as a good deed. The marketing campaign would lead to people imbibing wrong values: the buyer of the lottery hides his greed behind altruism.