on Mar 1st, 2010 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 28 comments
According to a representative on the Postal Regulatory Commission’s staff, a Postal Service-run lottery “could offer the potential for substantial profits for the Postal Service and utilize its current retail infrastructure with its 36,000 retail outlets.” Popular lottery formats in many states include drawings and instant lottery tickets. The claim is that running a national lottery could help the U.S. Postal Service close its multibillion-dollar budget gap. It could also build foot traffic to post offices, increasing retail sales of postal products. A lottery might bring in a lot of revenue, but would it also bring more problems?
- A lottery, like any form of gambling, is susceptible to fraud, despite the high degree of scrutiny claimed by the organizers.
- Lines at many lottery depots can be long when jackpots are high—stretching around corners. Adding lottery customers to the lines at post offices could have a negative impact on regular customers who are not lottery players.
- How would the states react to the Postal Service joining the business of selling lottery tickets? Would the ability to reach out to such a large audience (through 36,000 retail units) take money from state lotteries, a number of which earmark revenues for education and social programs?
- Who would run the lottery operations? Is Postal Service management equipped for such an endeavor?
- What do you think?
This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).