“Every time you play, the United Kingdom wins”, by Lucie Elven (Le Monde diplomatique
Inot In ancient Athens, officials were chosen by lot, a ritual known as casting lots. Elections were thought to favor aristocrats, whose wealth and eloquence brought them to power; The lottery was designed to promote equality before the law (isonomy), based on equal freedom of expression (isegory).
This lottery reduced the potential for factionalism, corruption, and superiority, ended the continuous election campaign, and led to a fairer distribution of the city’s resources. During the life of a free Athenian, there was a good chance that he would be chosen to serve his city. “The appointment of magistrates by lot is democratic, and their election oligarchic,” wrote Aristotle. “A principle of freedom is that all govern and be governed in turn.
In Britain today, people are also expected to think that playing the National Lottery is about helping to improve the country: ‘Every time you play, the UK wins’, reads the official website. The purpose of the draw is, however, less egalitarian. Since its launch in 1994, the world’s first private state lottery has been operated by the Camelot Group, whose machines are named after Arthurian legend: Guinevere, Merlin, Excalibur — pointing to the myth of the stone sword , with its promise that a prize is at hand and that anyone can become king, if such is their destiny.
But now the national lottery’s operating license is up for renewal again, with a decision from the secret gambling commission expected in March: Camelot’s challengers include Italian operator Sisal (recently acquired by the Flutter games), Czech group Sazka, and former tabloid owner and businessman Richard Desmond.
“A national lottery for good causes”
A 1698 act made private lotteries illegal in England unless authorized by law (they were later used by the state to raise funds for wars, museums and bridges); the small private lotteries were only (…)
Full article: 2,843 words.
(1) Astra Taylor, Democracy may not exist, but we will miss it when it is gone, Back, London, 2019.
(2) Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard, A Class Act: the myth of the classless British society, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1997.
(3) Money earned from ticket sales after the price, operating costs and 1% profit were deducted.
(6) “Camelot Report 2014-15,” Camelot website.
(seven) Theos Think Tank, ‘The National Lottery: is it progressive?’, 2009.
(9) Nathalie Olah, Steal as Much as You Can: How to Win the Culture Wars in an Age of Austerity, Rehearsal, 2019.
(11) Theos Think Tank, op cit.
(13) Gabriel Zaid, ‘Against Merit’, The Slapper, No. 24, January 2014.
(15) “Historical report reveals harm associated with gambling that is estimated to cost society at least £1.27 billion a year”, Government press release, 30 September 2021, gov.uk/.