Andy Rooney: Lotteries and lottery players are stupid

Aug 7, 2006, 8:28 am (44 comments)

Editorial / Opinion

Editor: The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney, originally broadcast on March 19, 2006, and re-broadcast last night.

The study that Rooney quotes, saying that poor people gamble the most, is completely false. All credible studies show that all demographics gamble roughly the same amount. Rooney's commentary is shown here to illustrate the ignorant and myopic arguments of some anti-lottery critics.

I suppose it's true that I'm too easily annoyed but there is nothing that annoys me more than the story we all see every couple of weeks about someone who has won the lottery. Newspapers and television ought to charge for advertising lottery winners.

The most recent story was about workers in a meat packing plant in Nebraska, who won $365 million. What I always want to read is stories about lottery losers, there never are any.

There ought to be a law making it compulsory for anyone who reports the name of the winner of a lottery, to also give the name of all the losers. The names would be followed by the amount each person lost — just the way they give the amount the winner got.

Lotteries usually pay out less than half of what is bet. It's the worst odds of any gambling operation.

You see people buying lottery tickets all the time and it's obvious that most lottery money comes from the poorest people. They don't look too smart either.

Some of them cash their unemployment checks and buy lottery tickets with that money. Then they need more help from the rest of us.

There was a National Gambling Impact Study and in every one of the 48 States that has gambling — only Utah and Hawaii don't — the people who make the least gamble the most.

Lower income people in Massachusetts, for example, spent 15 times as much on gambling as people who make a decent living.  [Editor: This statement shows that you can prove anything using statistics, even something as outrageously false as this.]

I think we're all willing to accept some responsibility for helping people who can't help themselves. We approve of using some of our tax money for welfare to help the helpless. What I don't approve of is any government agency buying radio commercials to encourage the poor to waste what we give them on lottery tickets.

"You can't live the dream if you don't play the game, the New York Lottery. Attention lottery players watch the official televised lottery drawing every night on ABC 7. Tune in tonight and watch the winning numbers as they come up," one recent commercial went.

I'm embarrassed to say that commercial was on CBS.

A lottery is a stupid, inefficient way to raise money. Governments are supposed to do things that we can't do for ourselves — like fight wars, enforce laws, prevent crimes and put out fires.

It's outrageous when a government agency advertises to encourage anything as damaging to society as gambling is.

Andy Rooney thinks there ought to be a law requiring a listing of the losers and how much they lost.

CBS News

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This....from the network that gave us Dan Rather...

nuff said.


60 Minutes is based in NYC. I get the feeling that Mr Rooney would RATHER not play NY Lotto.


i have a feeling andy rooney would choose annuities and play computerized drawings.this man doesn't deserve to draw another annuitized breath.......


By the way, Andy..

I think you are stupid. And do something about those eyebrows..

we;reallwinners's avatarwe;reallwinners

Maybe the viewers should be given the opportunity to vote on whether Andy Rooney is earning a "stupid" SALARY for giving his opinion on ANYTHING.


Andy Rooney is a first class jerk. He's been spouting his inane ideas for years.

Bradly_60's avatarBradly_60

I saw this last night also.  I was a little disappointed but what can you say.  People with money think they are better than everyone else.  What  can you do?



As far as I'm concerned, getting a gig on a show like 60 minutes, is equivalent to winning the lottery.


I can't help but point out that CBS is really See BS.  Wait until Katie becomes anchor of the See BS Evening News in September.  She'll make Andy look normal.

Orangeman                                Crazy


Well, I am lottery player not a big gambler at big casinos. In lottery pond, It still has true winners ? Why someone call someone like me stupid ?

I just hope there'is no a weird meeting made by some VIP talking about shut down lottery ? We need something fun in the life! never mind whoever call me "really stupid"Drum

jeffrey's avatarjeffrey

Andy Rooney should look at the history of the lottery. Paul Revere ran a lottery to pay for the revolution. The history of America is tied to the lottery. I guess America and Americans are stupid Andy.

RJOh's avatarRJOh

Andy Rooney is not the first person to say playing the lottery is stupid. 

Several times a year a local stupid person tells me the same thing while I'm buying lottery tickets.  How do I know they're stupid too?  They are usually buying a carton of cigarettes or a six-pack of beer at the time. 

Maybe Andy should also do a piece about the stupid people who smoke cigarettes and drink beer.  I wonder if Andy smokes or drinks.


Andy sounded like a post I read some time ago            but a lot of people think of his words as gold             In Biloxi some people think that every one cashed Fima checks at the Casinos  only part true

csfb's avatarcsfb

A gambler is a gambler is a gambler,  rich or poor, stupid or not.  Some may be addicted, some just do it for entertainment.

It is commonly perceived that there are more poor people gambling or buying the lotteries than rich people, and perhaps this could be true;  but I believe the reason is because there are just much more poor people than rich people.  If there were more rich people than poor, then there would be a reversed perception.

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