Fun fact

Which One Redistributes Money More Evenly: Oligarchy or Lottery?

There have been 91 lottery millionaires in Hungary since April 2010. There are much fewer oligarchs – with accumulated wealth over 100 times higher.


Since April 2010 (when the current Orbán-government came to power) there have been 91 lottery winners on the two most popular types of lottery in Hungary – 1.5 million euros on average. So let’s count with 91 lottery millionaires. (Those who had less than a jackpot won significantly less (as typical with lottery) so they are not even remotely relevant to our story. They are like the local Fidesz apparatchiks who were given a tobacco store concession in 2012 for their loyalty.)

As of oligarchs, we have significantly fewer than 91. And when it comes to their state-funded wealth, it is several orders of magnitude higher.

The biggest lottery jackpot in the studied period was 17 million euros – and that’s a huge outlier. Jackpot winners cashed in a mere 146 million euros between them since 2010.


Wealth of famous and accomplished people – vs that of Orbán’s top oligarch, Lőrinc Mészáros (amounts are in MILLION DOLLARS) Chart: Facebook

Orbán’s current top oligarch (and rumored business alter-ego) had, in the meantime amassed a confirmed wealth of just under 1 billion euros (1.1 billion dollars). And that’s just since 2014, when he was picked to replace Orbán’s previous top oligarch. By 2016, he had over 10 million euros to his name, but with superhuman business acumen and extraordinary talent at winning public tenders, he became the proud owner of 300 million by 2017 and reached 1 billion euros this year. (Again, his holding company was the best performing stock on the planet in 2017, vastly outperforming Bitcoin and never coming back down.)

But other members of Orbán’s cherished and often mentioned “national capital owning class” have also had a great time. Forbes’ top 20 list contains a number of these lucky and meritful oligarchs, but all jackpot winners combined couldn’t crack the the list. Oligarchs are several orders of magnitude wealthier than lottery winners – and they are less numerous.

Lottery redistributes money more evenly than the system of oligarchy. 

But how much money do they redistribute?

Lottery data is tricky to find we reverse engineered their public database of winners and winnings to find out how much they have redistributed. It was 46% of all revenue from selling tickets. They sell around 3.5 million euros worth of tickets each week and redistributed 46% percent of it. That is 257 million euros since 2010 – 146 million of which went to the 91 jackpot winners.

As of the oligarchy, they have received 7.3 million euros just from EU funds every single week since 2010 – plus they also have the money they took from Hungarian taxpayers.

54% of lottery revenues also went straight into the oligarchy. But unlike lottery tickets, these taxpayer contributions are not voluntary. I cannot opt out just because I don’t want any more megalomaniac stadiums, state-funded hate campaigns, or pointless lookout towers. As of their “contributions” in exchange for the funds, these oligarchs have blighted us with overpriced projects that will keep on sucking in money forever. The stadiums and countless spas that eat their town’s budget in maintenance, the wellness hotels that only host miserable locals who got a share of their salary in vouchers, and the hugely corrupts sports events that will leave the nation mentally scared and in cognitive dissonance forever, as they don’t dare to see that it’s not really about greatness at all.

by the way, did you know that the worse the economic situation, the more people waste on lottery (and gambling)?

…those who reported financial difficulties due to the recession were more likely to buy lotto- or scratch tickets during the recession than those who were not financially affected by the crisis.

— Olason, (2017) Economic Recession Affects Gambling Participation But Not Problematic Gambling: Results from a Population-Based Follow-up Study

…the loss in income during recessions affects casino gambling. However, income shocks which are not directly related to the business cycle do not influence casino gambling expenditures.

— Horváth-Paap (2012) The Effect of Recessions on Gambling Expenditures

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