Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Lottery (HBO)

Published on November 10, 2014

State lotteries claim to be good for education and the general wellbeing of citizens.
But are they? (Spoiler alert: No.)

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  • Crazy Gnome 5 years ago

    I personally received 5,000 a year from the TN lottery for 4 years to use
    for college.
    So in a way, I won 20,000 from the lotto without having to get a ticket.
    Yes its a tax on those who are bad at math, but at least in TN its helped
    out a ton of kids with rising above student debt!

  • Roman BV 5 years ago

    To be honest, trying to win the lottery is like trying to commit suicide by
    flying on commercial airlines.

  • Arcadio Buendia 5 years ago

    I used to be all wishy washy, live and let live, everyone is just as smart,
    and everyone has commons sense…bullshit. Yes these things are evil but I
    cannot for the life of me understand why people gamble especially against
    unbelievable odds. I have played black jack and came up on $60 and left it
    at that. Does this make me better than those who do? I will pass on being
    politically correct and say yes. Idiots everywhere and most are breeding.

  • Jacob Larp 5 years ago

    People make conscious decisions that affect their lives and they alone
    should hold responsibility for their actions. Who are you to tell someone
    they shouldn’t do something? Laissez faire is the only way

  • Brigitte Morency 5 years ago

    How is it that this wonderful British man, who is spending a large portion
    of his career reporting on the US’s myriad troublesome foibles, would
    willingly go through the hellish visa process to stay in said foible-ridden
    nation? Does love really conquer all?

  • mycollegeshirt 5 years ago

    hmm i dunno if I’m convinced, it seems like John Oliver is making the
    argument that playing the lottery is stupid, well duh, we all know that.
    But people enjoy the fun of it, I don’t think they are all hapless idiots,
    especially considering those numbers of people playing the lotto. And
    ofcourse poorer people spend a larger percentage of their money, noone is
    going to buy 10000 lotto cards, it’s just too much time scratching, there
    is a law of diminishing returns. Also he points out that, the money from
    the lottery replaced money from taxes, and helped lower them. Essentially
    the lottery replaced a mandatory payment and changed it to a volunteer form
    of funding. I think the lotto helps incentivise programs/institutions that
    we think as a nation should support that otherwise may suffer from poor
    funding. I think lotto offers brilliant avenues of even incentivising
    people to help themselves. I dont think because some people can’t manage
    their addiction, we should forsake all the potential good lotteries have
    the potential of doing.

  • xCkillaxC 5 years ago

    12,000+ slot machines in all of Oregon? That’s cute, there’s over 200,000
    just in my city(las Vegas). Home of the gamblers and suckers!

  • Mustafa POLAT 5 years ago

    That’s why it is forbidden in Islam to gamble.

  • Connor Adams 5 years ago

    Huge Jon Oliver fan, absolute legend, but did anyone catch the fact that he
    said 21/24 states? (nearly 50%) lol

  • Richard Schiffman 5 years ago

    So a rich guy from Britain who made all his money here in America is
    telling other Americans not to play the lottery at all. Hey John,piss off
    you limey bastard!

  • Alex Hernandez 5 years ago

    #JohnOliver is fast becoming my favorite…..this guy really makes great
    points in his show. #lottery glad we don’t play the lottery. 

  • Doc Von Doom 5 years ago

    Winning the lottery is like taking one of those $10 LEGO sets, throwing all
    the pices onto a table, and them all landing in the correct positions as
    the fully assembled product.

  • Toni Al 5 years ago

    do not buy scratch tickets , store clerks scan the big winners and sell to
    their friend and family. It is all a scam. Casinos are better at least you
    have a drink and it is entertaining

  • King of awesome 5 years ago

    “Oregonians” Do they seriously call themselves that? 

  • loserlainnie 5 years ago

    As an Oregonian, I can personally say that video poker machines are
    everywhere. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone into a restaurant and not
    seen one. They are actually everywhere.

  • Azai Kyousuke 5 years ago

    Maybe its because I’ve got education in economics and finances that made me
    a bit pessimistic about how money works in this world, but the fact of
    people getting their lives ruined due to lottery/slot machines doesnt make
    the lottery/gambling the devil, it is the people themselves and their own
    faults, if they cry about losing, Im afraid there isnt anyone else to
    blame, but their own idiocy, loterries,casinos in general are built upon
    the idea of idiots spending their money “hoping” to win big, which is next
    to impossible and if they believe it might just one day be them, then oh
    holy sh*t I would do nothing, but turn around and walk away, I for one have
    never understood why and how can someone even remotely believe to win any
    reasonable amount of money, honestly if they want to waste money on
    something, they might as well be throwing it out the window, that way maybe
    someone with common sense might find them and use them for something
    actually useful.

  • Gyengye Gabor 5 years ago

    only 12.000 machines in one state ?

  • DAEMON33 5 years ago


  • D. Lyrium 5 years ago

    “That is nearly 50%”

    That was a Colbert joke if I ever saw one. Did John just poach his writers
    from every other late night host?

  • Thenextworldwar 5 years ago

    Who else would watch Slumshark Gillionaire?

  • Helen Prince 5 years ago

    The Florida lottery paid for my entire undergrad education through Florida
    Bright Futures scholarship.

  • Xpry 5 years ago

    I’ve never seen an ad for the lottery in my whole life. And I watch a lot
    of TV.

  • Scelestus13 5 years ago

    Jesus Christ. Have some self-control. Apparently John Oliver wants a nice,
    socialist government where we don’t get to make decisions for ourselves.
    “But I want to spend $5 on the lotto!” “No, you can’t do that. Go buy some
    kale instead.”

  • Patrick Kaiser 5 years ago

    Lottery is a great thing, on the one hand it’s taxation for stupidity and
    being bad in statistics on the other hand its an incentive to develop a
    method of sending information back in time

  • Helen Eschenbacher 5 years ago

    I have lived most of my life in the two states that have absolutely NO
    gaming. None. Utah and Hawai’i. It’s great! I HOPE there is NEVER any
    gaming, any lottery in these two states. When I am flying into McCarran
    Airport in Vegas for business, there are video poker and slots as you get
    off the plane! Slots in grocery stores, UPS stores…everywhere. Casinos
    are #1 industry in NV. Nevada got KILLED in the recession…people
    couldn’t pay mortgage much less afford a weekend trip to the Bellagio! Of
    interest is that Nevada plus 6 other states do NOT have lotteries! Casino
    lobbyists won’t allow anything to interfere with money spent on lottery
    tix. Gambling is the worst addiction I have ever seen. When you go to an
    ATM in a casino, the screen lights up with “IS GAMBLING STILL FUN? If not
    call 1-800-Gamblers (for Gamblers’ Anonymous)” THEN the ATM dispenses $100
    bills! Minimum to withdraw is in $100 increments! I hate all gaming as I
    see how many lives it ruins.

  • Natalie Kendel 5 years ago

    Gambling and its problems

  • coal s 5 years ago

    Gambling should be legal becauses (I mean in all staes) because it is free
    will people blame the machines or the ticket or the cards being not the
    best when it is their choice to play

  • todd dyer 5 years ago

    How is it that we are now living in the Future in back to the future were
    biff goes back in time and than becomes the most powerful man in the US?

  • Dibyendu Dutta 5 years ago

    I think most of America’s problems stem from the fact that its policies are
    not made in response to the demands and needs of the common people but are
    made by how much cash certain profit oriented groups poured in for lobbying
    for what was good fit their profits.

  • Gerald Davis 5 years ago

    #JohnOliver Sadly your last joke was a little too close to reality. In
    Virginia hard liquer is only sold in ABC (alcohol beverage control) stores
    run and controlled by the state government. So not only is the state in
    the alcohol business, the state has a legal monopoly created by the state.

  • Aidan Crane 5 years ago

    2:19 Education matters to Argonians?

  • Lance Enchantie 5 years ago

    It’s funny at the end with the liquor business bit…

    because that is what Pennsylvania actually does. All PA Wine and Spirit
    Shoppes are state run.

  • LadyGillian 5 years ago

    Lottery is a scam. States that claim that the funds go to Education just
    do weird math voodoo by removing regular funding. Otherwise those states
    that claim that the lottery pays for education would have schools hurting
    for money.

    There is a reason why gambling houses loudly proclaim that some
    would-be-gambler won “X” amount of money. That is small change and the
    house ALWAYS wins in the end. .

  • Muzikrazy213 5 years ago

    My good buddy David is absolutely addicted to gambling. I watched him throw
    seven 100 dollar bills (all the money he had for a vacation) on a roulette
    wheel just because “it has to turn red eventually”. And he buys $5
    scratchers multiple times a day. Hes not even 21 yet. I am deathly afraid
    for his well-being once that age comes.

  • GetMeThere1 5 years ago

    Which do you prefer? 1) The state takes a certain percentage of money from
    you at the (implied) muzzle of a gun (that’s called taxes). 2) The state
    doesn’t force you to give them anything, but offers a chance at a huge
    prize if you give them a little something to take the chance.

  • Tyler Maloney 5 years ago

    Dream mega

    Mega flygon

  • FitzChivalryFarseer2 5 years ago

    No pity for the stupid bitch… aww no food whine whine…. well clearly
    she wasn’t hungry enough if gambling went over survival and well being

  • Owen Fitzgerald 5 years ago

    The Lottery, A Tax On Hope.

  • Kevin Manson 5 years ago

    You are better than steward 

  • plonk420 5 years ago

    here’s the most evil idea ever…

    dole out XP for every dollar you spend (like an RPG). for every level you
    gain, you have an x% chance better to win (on an odds of 50-100K against
    you). sometimes you can win an extra 10-20 extra spins of the gaming

    bam! farmville and/or evony (microrewards and microtransactions) + gambling
    D: fuuuuuuuuuu

  • Martin Ga 5 years ago

    Crossing fingers is a signal of luck too

  • Kevin Kennedy 5 years ago

    The state runs alcohol in PA…

  • kulza23 5 years ago

    The people who are addicted to lotteries are in the bottom decile anyway,
    so it’s not a big loss in terms of GDP.

  • TheDaklon 5 years ago

    If you see the whole thing bigger state owned lotteries result in less
    taxes for you.
    And i am quite sure the money the lotteries makes would still be made, just
    by private people. Maybe not in the same amount, but still.

  • Cat Tobin 5 years ago

    Ohio sells alcohol directly via agencies, so I guess yeah, they are funding
    schools with drunks :P

  • radosccsi 5 years ago

    Chance of getting attacked by a shark in the United States is 1 in 11.5
    million and the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is 1 in
    3,000. Chances of this happening simultaneously during one of 40 million
    minutes of average lifetime expectancy are much slimmer. Check your facts
    John Oliver!

  • Johanna 5 years ago

    I truly believe the lotteries are rigged in order to get money for these
    states. This is the poor mans tax and it helps the state collect money
    without paying anything out. I really wish someone would seriously
    INVESTIGATE the mechanics of the lottery winnings (Which state, and how the
    numbers have been generated for those QPs for that state.) Kinda weird
    that Puerto Rico is going bankrupt and all of a sudden, someone in PR wins
    the jackpot making the PR people rush to spend their money on new tickets.

  • Fly 5 years ago

    I don’t think I’ve purchased more than 10 lottery tickets. It’s a “once in
    a blue moon” thing for me.

  • TVtangcameo 5 years ago

    That last joke about what if the government ran the liquor business and had
    ads saying how buying alcohol supports education? The provincial government
    of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is EXACTLY like that! Our alcohol
    businesses are all run, at least in part, by the government which got into
    the business sometime after prohibition ended. We have ads reminding us
    that our beer and alcohol, which is two to three times as expensive here
    than anywhere else in North America, goes to support schools and hospitals
    and policing and the arts. We’re so addicted to the income that despite the
    current right wing government wanting to end government run liquor stores,
    the alcohol would be just as expensive at a private liquor store.

  • James Adams 5 years ago

    Idiots who waste their money gambling DESERVE to lose their money. If you
    don’t have enough brain cells to resist gambling, you don’t deserve any
    sympathy. Pretending like these people are victims is just dishonest.

  • catchmeifyoucan 5 years ago

    people need to stay away from them organizations!

  • Donny Estrada 5 years ago

    I would watch slumshark gillionare

  • Emma Artista 5 years ago

    I live in Utah, what lottery? Lol.

  • Anita Thomas 5 years ago

    Hey I got a score of 12 million on one board on Candy Crush….lol

  • BRBallin1 5 years ago

    Dumb people don’t care how improbable it is to win. As soon as they hear
    about a few people who won the lottery, they feel confident that they could
    be next. When they actually do, tons of people might be after their money
    since they have so much to blow.

  • Gary Cryer 5 years ago

    The sad truth is that public education will always lose to corporate tax

  • Gregory Martin 5 years ago

    This one is awesome! Spot on and well played sir! 🙂

    Please address moving corp HQ’s offshore to avoid corp taxes altogether –
    that would be good.

  • Zombie Killa 5 years ago

    oh you americans as corrupt as always :)

  • Frankling Roosevelt 5 years ago

    Next, mobile “games”.

  • Ethan Hamilton 5 years ago

    I knew when I saw the clip from a Tennessee Lottery ad that the three
    billion dollars to education was bullshit. I live in Tennessee and I go to
    public school here and the school was always begging for money. There were
    fundraisers all of the time and we had to buy all of our supplies, we even
    had to buy supplies for the class like tissues and paper. The supplies we
    didn’t have to pay for though were almost always complete shit. The
    textbooks were falling apart, with the covers literally hanging on by a
    thread, though I normally attributed that to the fact that some staff
    members were probably not even needed. Our school, which was Kindergarden
    through eighth grade with one thousand kids in it, had three assistant
    principals along with the principle. I understand why we need a principal,
    but even one assistant principal seems excessive for a primarily elementary

  • Kurisuchin Kerrigan 5 years ago

    Best part ever.

  • Nicholas Avasthi 5 years ago

    So this is what happens here in Oregan…I want to go back to Minnesota.

  • Victor Chacon 5 years ago

    His last joke on alcohol and education is actually what happens in
    Colombia. The tax the liquor company pays goes towards education. Not far
    from reality, Oliver!

  • toast 5 years ago

    I worked it out and the odds of being struck by lightning and eaten by a
    shark simultaneously are actually 1 in 2,623,646,900,000

  • Sir Fur 5 years ago

    That “furry” clip…I don’t think there’s that much overlap between those
    who demographics…

  • Sir Fur 5 years ago

    Why would I give my charity money to a lottery? Even disregarding morals
    and ethics and only regarding practicality, it’s more likely that the
    charity money will make said poor family wealthy enough that they can pay
    you back multiple times out of sheer gratitude than you’ll win that same
    money in the lottery. How’s that for your conflict of interest?

  • Gavin Inglis 5 years ago

    The Lottery – A tax on the poor

  • jammerjammer 5 years ago

    A lottery is basically a “stupid” tax.
    A way for governments and corporations to drain more money from idiots.
    Let them do it.

  • Becky Camp 5 years ago

    Ugh. I work at a lottery cafe in Oregon. Now I feel more awful than

  • Dnc1ngQueen 5 years ago

    I completely agree with this video. I will say, however, that I’m
    (selfishly) grateful for the Georgia lottery, which allowed me to go to
    university tuition and fee free through the HOPE Scholarship. As a whole I
    know its not a good program, but I know it helped a lot of kids in my state
    go to school with little or no loans

  • luke lee 5 years ago

    As a person who has to sell lottery tickets as part of their job I hate the
    question “Which would you buy”. I always think “A fucking math textbook”.

  • Noah Baldwin 5 years ago

    the lottery is for stupid people who can’t do math.

  • adam meredith 5 years ago

    I believe it was in the liner notes of a Pigface album… “Fuck the
    lottery, a tax on the poor…”

  • Anti Hypocrite 5 years ago

    The lottery would be nice if it wasn’t so corrupt wire nation is then
    financial problems why it does money helping to repair roads and I think
    someone that money is going to some corrupt politicians pockets.
    It was really stupid when they put more states into into the lottery and
    put more odds against winning because they added one more number in the
    lottery. They should a left the lottery alone and left half the states to
    have the lottery and the other half does have the Mega lottery.
    And now you have to pay $2.00 a ticket for their original lottery and for
    the mega lottery you does have to pay $1.00.
    And I think that when the lottery is over $100,000,000 they should have at
    least 50 drawings so some people can split up that 100,000,000 dollars and
    we would have more winners that way and that would help are our economy a
    lot more.
    And it gets me when you pay taxes on when the lottery the government gets
    half of it and they should only get 1/4 of it.
    And people should have the right to have privacy when they win the lottery
    because you don’t need to have people to know how much money you have
    because so many people will be asking you for money afterwards and I would
    tell them I bought a lottery ticket and one why don’t you go by lottery
    ticket and try to win.
    But when people ask you for money it’s always good to use the magic word no

  • nachomanpdx 5 years ago

    I have lived in Oregon all my life, and I can’t remember ever seeing a
    video poker machine. I am wondering where they put them. I never play the
    lottery though, so maybe it is just one of those things that I don’t think
    about…like not noticing phone booths anymore.

  • garcemac 5 years ago

    Well, that’s pretty much how the liquor business works in Ontario,

  • Emm Law 5 years ago

    john oliver needs to come here and pound the shit out of me, I would drag
    my balls over 100 miles of broken glass and diamonds to have 10 minutes
    with the man, yas daddy

  • Matthew Noblin 5 years ago

    I love John Oliver but the bit about the woman blowing all of her grocery
    money on the lottery was a bit much…. at some point you have to blame the
    individual for being an idiot…. The lottery system is obviously designed
    to take advantage of people by giving them false hope but you have to have
    some responsibility for yourself as an adult….

  • IoEstasCedonta 5 years ago

    Twenty-eight hours earlier, backstage:

    John: “So I get to expense the vodka? …can we just do one last-minute

  • LARRY REED 5 years ago

    we need more intelligent, skeptical thinkers like Oliver, James Randi-, and
    Dawkins, etc…
    It’s time our species gets our heads out of our stone-aged mentality

  • Marten Hall 5 years ago

    North Carolina pride!!

  • Delton record 5 years ago

    But lottery is like the et of video games unless it some how has pacman on
    it… In which it’s only a 10000 dollar winner because it still sucked too

  • Samuel Epicurus 5 years ago

    It is just a stupid tax.

  • SeanFromPVD 5 years ago

    My state has gambling one gambling awareness sign (for potential
    addicts)… It’s about 0.5 miles from the CT border, between partially
    overgrown trees, on a fairly lightly travelled road. All of the lottery
    signs, on the other hand… They’re in the densely populated sections with
    tons of traffic. Seems legit. LOL :)

  • alpha bison 5 years ago

    3:09 yes lower income households spend a higher proportion of their income
    on lottery tickets because say 2 families of different income buy 1 lottery

    5$ : 20,000$ > 5$ : 50,000$

    even if they buy the same amount of tickets the proportion would be higher
    for lower income (because smaller denominator)

  • TLOWNSU 5 years ago

    I remember a Missouri Lottery ad here that showed a Swedish transfer
    student coming in, and all the kids said “Welcome to Missouri” in Swedish.

  • Lula 5 years ago

    to be honest I the ball lottery like spend 5 bucks a week for a chance at
    winning big? I mean shit if I won the lottery I’d take 2 million of it for
    myself to pay for a small house small car a new computer and the rest would
    be to spend bills and anything more than that 2 milion would go to charity
    or something.

  • shilelea 5 years ago

    I agree with Oliver comma John

  • HackBennys 5 years ago

    I guess we should stop building bars cuz people are gonna drink too?

  • Matt Mcclain 5 years ago

    I just discovered this guys show. It reminds me of Penn and Teller’s
    Bullshit which was one of my favorites. Every episode I laugh at first and
    then eventually cry when I realize every fucked up thing he examines is
    downright evil.

  • eitaey10 5 years ago

    i fucking love this man. he depresses the shit out of me every time i
    watch, but i fucking love him

  • eitaey10 5 years ago

    i fucking love this man. he depresses the shit out of me every time i
    watch, but i fucking love him

  • Rob Aladin 5 years ago


  • TheHolyMongolEmpire 5 years ago

    John Oliver is the shit.

  • steven pa brown 5 years ago

    this shows so dope i never heard of it till today

  • Aquakiller 5 years ago

    I once was on a cruise, and as I walked past the casino, a row of windows
    on one side and players gawking into their video slot machines on the other
    side… I thought, “They ought to just open the windows and throw their
    money into the ocean. It’s basically the same thing.”

  • baggytheo 5 years ago

    State corruption hides in plain sight, and people like John Oliver tacitly
    ignore its nature while poking fun at the malice they mistake for
    stupidity, smugly chiding politicians to simply do a better job at taking
    care of us.

  • Headset Guy 5 years ago

    Video slot/poker machines are all over Illinois, too.

  • David Bailey 5 years ago

    I’m from Ontario, and the last bit about States selling alcohol is pretty
    much exactly what we do! With similar claims of good causes it is going


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