State lotteries are terrible forms of gambling—most return about 45% on the bet, and that is subject to taxes, which leave most big winners with (in theory) roughly 30%. . . .
(And I agree about diverting the profits—but there is a long history of that. Tobacco settlement income diversions, anyone?)
The Mob and Casinos are much better—they tend to return about 90%+ of the bet as winnings.
If you want to gamble with a chance of getting ahead, throw a dart at the listings page of the Wall Street Journal. Companies tend to return over 100% of the investment—or they would have gone out of business.