Upon setting out to make a film about the lottery, Director Bert Klasey was looking to tell a story about where the lottery money was going. Seeing that promises to improve education in his state were failing to come true, he was convinced that there was a story in the lottery system.
The story he uncovered was far bigger than expected. While the story of where the money was actually going was worth exploring, the bigger story just under the surface, was about where the money is coming from.
Out Of Luck looks closely at the system of the lotteries in this nation, but perhaps more importantly, it studies the people playing them. Once Klasey started to understand that 80% of lottery profits come from only 10-15% of the players, a new direction was taken in this film. This statistic clearly shows that there is a population of hardcore, addicted gamblers that are keeping this government system afloat, and the team set out to meet them.
They weren’t hard to find. In every corner store in every city and town in America there are addicted gamblers playing their state lottery’s now massive portfolio of games – whether they are scratch tickets, daily games or even Video Lottery Terminals. Throughout Out Of Luck, viewers will learn a handful of their stories and begin to understand how gambling addiction can devastate the lives of gamblers and their families.
Once we understand who plays and how it impacts those who are addicted, it raises the most important question – should our government own, operate, and heavily market a product that they know is addictive? Isn’t that against everything government is supposed to stand for? These larger questions were ones that needed to be explored, and Out Of Luck does that.
Within the film we meet some of the nation’s leading experts in economics, academics, politics, civil rights and entertainment to begin to understand the impact that lottery gambling and addicted gamblers have on this nation. The film closely looks at how lotteries came to be, how they’ve expanded, and how they’ve become the nation’s largest casino. Out of Luck studies the true odds of the games, their predatory advertising practices, how lotteries market themselves to poor neighborhoods, and how the system of treating problem gamblers is failing.
Out Of Luck is the most thorough study of state-operated lottery gambling ever put on film and shows a side of the industry that few see and fewer understand. For Bert Klasey, understanding where the lottery money is coming from changed the way he looked at state-run gambling – for any viewer, it will do the same.