With the anticipation of the new Wyoming lottery, people are getting excited that we've finally joined the other 40+ states that currently hold this game of chance.

Make no mistake, the lottery is a form of tax that benefits the state more than the players. This form of gambling - and that is exactly what it is - benefits the house much more than you think. Only 50% of the money earned gets paid out to the winner. The rest goes to the state, or commissions to the stores that sell the tickets.

Now, I'm not here to bash the lottery. Every time I head to Colorado, I make a point to buy ten Powerball tickets. While I know that I have a better chance of being crushed by a vending machine than I do of actually cashing in, it's fun to give myself a chance at hitting it big. I am also smart enough to realize that I just donated $10 to the Colorado state economy, with no chance of return. I'm a nice guy like that.

With that being said, the majority of people play the lottery, can't really afford to. According to this story on chacha.com:

By and large most people who play the lottery are poor. One study showed that households earning under $13,000 a year generally spent about 9% of their income or about $645 a year on lottery tickets. Households that earn more spend less on tickets. Not only is the lottery yet another tax, but it preys on the hopes of the poor, taxing them disproportionately compared to the rich, the exact opposite of what regular taxes do.

Is playing the lottery just a "tax on stupid people"? No, I wouldn't go that far. But, it does seem that the people with more to lose are the ones funding this program. Have fun, but don't put yourself in the poor-house trying to hit the big money...