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November 28th, 2012
10:37 PM ET

Les Bernal on Powerball: "One out of five Americans ... think the most practical way to build wealth is to play the lottery"

As people across America flock to their favorite convenience store in anticipation of a record $550 million Powerball drawing, on Wednesday "Piers Morgan Tonight" invited a host of financial insiders and economic experts to debate the drama and danger surrounding the game of chance.

Joining Piers Morgan for a live interview, Les Bernal questioned the way the masses view this week's event:

"A lot of folks have been calling this 'Powerball Fever.' A better name for it is 'The Swindle Flu,'" claimed the Executive Director of "Stop Predatory Gambling." "State lotteries represent one of government's biggest public policy failures of the last 40 years ... this is a government program that's based on pushing citizen's into deeper personal debt. It's a classic gimmick, and it's become the public voice of American government today, and it's a lie. When people say 'people don't play this as an investment,' according to the Consumer Federation of America, you have one out of five Americans who think the most practical way to build wealth is to play the lottery."

Terry Rich, meanwhile, described Powerball and other lotteries as a simple slice of fun, a relatively inexpensive investment that's hardly harmful:

"This is a form of entertainment, and you need to take it at that," said the CEO of the Iowa Lottery. "We don't want anybody just going out and emptying their savings account on a night like tonight. You want to get a couple bucks, get a few friends together, have a few tickets, and have some fun dreaming, and talking, in this ugly economic time about what could happen, and I guarantee you most everybody realizes 'I probably won't win tonight, but, what if?'"

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as the two men on opposite sides of the lottery landscape argue as to whether or not Powerball is more helpful or hurtful.
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Filed under: The Big Story
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Larry Girton

    The biggest lottery is Wall Street

    November 29, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Griff.

    "No Pierse, it's to run for the highest office in the land, and get elected en if you are a Muslim Imigrant? Illegal Alien?' Quote: Four years after she danced to celebrate President Barrack Obama’s win, Mama Sarah Obama is confident her grandson would be re-elected.

    “I am convinced he will win and leave everything to God to take charge,” she said.

    Sarah, 90, who has been in her guarded compound since the US campaigns started, however, acknowledges that Obama’s rival is a “tough one” this time.

    “I am happy with his work and pray he wins the election because he will help the community,” she said at her Kogelo home where she rears rabbits, turkeys and chicken.

    Mama Sarah, who gained fame after Obama was elected in 2007, said his grandson’s leadership talent was God-given.

    “He has brought many changes here and I want him to help Americans more because they are the ones who vote for him. I wish him well and pray for his victory. He has united all races in the US. This is a key factor in his re-election,” she added. Unquote.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lucy

      So you hate Muslims, Blacks, Asians, Middle Eastens, South Americans and all US policies.
      Who put you up on your CHOSEN pedestal? It was not God. That was a myth remember. iIt has been always greed $$$$$$$$$

      December 2, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. PaulT

    My thoughts: Those who so badly need hope may buy into this. I would like to see a very broad base. If no one claims the prize throw the number back into the pool. Then redraw 500 winners. Then 500 people would share in the prize.
    But it could be coupled with a "required" course on financial management before funds are released.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Hunter

    Instead of having few winners and prizes of $10 million + (most of which is squandered within a few years by the winners anyways)...

    why not revamp the system to have hundreds or even thousands of winners, with individual prizes less than $100,000?

    November 30, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. usa today

    Hi there! This blog post couldn't be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

    June 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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