NJ Lawmaker Proposes A Lottery Just For Residents With Student Loan Debt
New Jersey State Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) has proposed legislation that would establish a state lottery that’s open to those with student loan debt, with winnings going towards paying it down.
“Under the legislation, the lottery could be operated by a private company under contract with the state, and the drawings would be conducted by the New Jersey Lottery Commission,” reports NJ.com. “Any student – past or present – would register information about his debt to the lottery in order to play. A benefactor could purchase a ticket on behalf of a student.”
The state already has a lottery system. But with this new student debt lottery, the pool would be much smaller, giving entrants a greater chance of winning. And winnings would go directly to that student debt.
“If a student were to win a pot that exceeds his debt, other students would be chosen to receive the rest of the money,” NJ.com continues. “And 25 percent of the pot would go to the company running the lottery.”
Tickets would cost about $3 each. And entrants would have to file with the lottery system, which will prohibit participants from spending more than 15 percent of their debt on tickets.
Critics say that gambling to pay of debt is wrong. And there’s the question of how taxes will be taken care of on these winnings. The Asbury Park Press straight up calls it the candidate for “The Dumbest Bill Proposed By a New Jersey Legislator.”
“What lessons about the work ethic would be taught if his bill somehow became law?,” the op-ed continues. “None that we can imagine, although the experience of losing again and again might teach college graduates lessons on the laws of probability and the foolishness of relying on blind luck, and the truth that a fool and his money are soon parted.”
Fusion notes that there’s a MoveOn.org petition asking President Obama to set up a national lottery. “Players (both with debt or without) could purchase tickets either online or at convenience stores. Jackpots could be used to pay student loan debt incurred to that date, if short, remaining debt would remain, if some funds remained following payoff – they could be added to the future jackpot,” the petition reads.