“You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” Dirty Harry made that line famous, but most states in the union have been asking the same question for years. Between mobile phones and the rise of legalized sports betting, it’s hard to avoid gambling these days. Even Disney is getting in on the action via ESPN. But long before states began legalizing gambling for companies, they were running numbers operations of their own. Unlike casinos, the house doesn’t always win. But the companies who administer the games do. Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker: What We’ve Lost Playing the Lottery. “It is so popular that it is both extremely lucrative for the private companies that make and sell tickets and financially crippling for its most dedicated players. One in two American adults buys a lottery ticket at least once a year, one in four buys one at least once a month, and the most avid players buy them at rates that might shock you.” (It shouldn’t shock you. When it comes to human vices, always bet the over.)

+ Jeff Maysh in The Atlantic: The $30 Million Lottery Scam. “How a Michigan real-estate broker became convinced he had cracked the lottery—and how he tricked his investors into financing his scheme.”