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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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