Lottery warnings wisely rejected

The Florida Lottery would have become the first lottery operator in the nation to issue warnings about playing its games under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature, but vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The legislation (HB 629) seems to be a good example of the law of unintended consequences, which often seems overlooked in legislation. While legislators may have been well intentioned about warning that gambling can be addictive—(well, duh!)—lottery officials noted a Revenue Estimating Conference estimate that doing so could cause a $64 million negative impact to education, which the lottery helps fund.

The lottery said the warnings could have also been problematic in multi-state games, such as Powerball, Mega Millions and Cash4Life. It wasn’t clear whether warnings would have been blessed by the other states.

Then there was the cost of working in warnings labels—”play responsibly” and “lottery games may be addictive.” Because the dual warnings would be needed under the legislation, lottery officials said it would drive up the cost of TV spot production and marketing. The lottery also would have to rebrand equipment with new warning labels.

But there was still more: Some retailers may have balked about having a product with warning labels. Licensed trademarks, such as “Monopoly,” might also have not wanted their brands with a product that requires a label.

By the way, lottery officials also say the stereotype of players as being low-income and uneducated are inaccurate. The typical player skews towards being a white male college graduate with a household income of $50,000 a year or more.

The warning labels also wouldn’t have said where to get help: 1-888-ADMIT IT.







Kevin Gale
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