Americans spent $70 billion on the lottery in 2014, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, which looked at spending in the 43 states where lotteries are legal.
The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson calculates that’s more than $230 for every man, woman and child in states where the lottery is legal – more than Americans in all 50 states spent on sports tickets, books, video games, movie tickets and recorded music sales.
Five areas across the country have been designated as "Promise Zones" by the federal government. These zones, announced by President Obama in January, are intended to tackle poverty by focusing on individual urban neighborhoods and rural areas.
In the five Promise Zones — located in Philadelphia, San Antonio, southeastern Kentucky, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Los Angeles — the idea is to basically carpet-bomb the neighborhoods with programs like after-school classes, GED courses and job training to turn those areas around.