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World Lottery Association president urges veto of warning labels

May 20, 2019, 9:45 am

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Florida's first lottery secretary called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto legislation placing warning labels on tickets.

Rebecca Paul Hargrove, now president of the World Lottery Association, said Florida could set an unfortunate precedent. Should the bill (HB 629) become law, it could hurt lottery-funded programs nationwide.

"The instant scratch-off games have been around for over 45 years, and sales of these games continue to grow every year," Hargrove wrote in a letter to DeSantis, "but more importantly the sales of these games continue to grow funding for good causes every year."

Hargrove said $50 billion worth of lottery tickets get sold each year nationwide. That raises about $10 billion to support various programs benefiting the public.

In Florida, she notes, the Lottery provides funding for public education. Since the program's launch in 1988, some $35 billion has been generated for schools. That includes financing 800,000 Bright Futures scholarships.

Hargrove feels partial to the program in the Sunshine State. In 1987, then-Gov. Bob Martinez tapped her to launch the Florida Lottery, which set first-year records.

She's also run lottery programs in Illinois and Georgia, and currently serves as president and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery. The World Lottery Association tapped her to lead the international group during a gathering in Argentina in November.

"During my Lottery career, my focus has been on how best to continue growing the much-needed funding for good causes while doing so with integrity," Hargrove writes.

"I am not aware of any North American Lottery that is required to print a warning message on the front of the instant scratch-off games ticket that is required to occupy 10 percent of the ticket real estate, similar to HB 629."

The Legislature passed the bill based on concerns about gambling addiction. Former Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a similar bill in 2017.

State revenue estimators at one point figured the legislation could result in a $64 million loss for the Lottery in the first full year of implementation. But based on that concern, lawmakers shortened the language for the warning substantially.

The legislation now requires ticket labels read either "WARNING: LOTTERY GAMES MAY BE ADDICTIVE" or simply "PLAY RESPONSIBLY."

Hargrove said if those warnings win DeSantis' approval, it could deliver a substantial negative impact on the entire lottery industry.

"Retailers may not want to carry instant scratch-off tickets due to negative image this warning message conveys about addiction, making retailer recruitment more difficult," Hargrove writes.

That comes not only because of the warning but a loss in marketing space on the ticket face. It could even interfere with security requirements around the bar code.

Ultimately, any loss in revenue for the state also means less money being pumped through the economy by retailers and prize winners.

"The Lottery industry has always proactively addressed problem gambling, through including 'Playing Responsibly' messaging on tickets and advertising materials as well as directly funding problem gambling organizations," Hargrove writes.

"The Florida Lottery is generating over $1 billion annually to good causes in Florida, and I do not want to see this valuable resource and funding stream damaged," she writes.

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22 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by Stack47.
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Kunming
China
Member #57908
January 23, 2008
4521 Posts
Online

Florida's first lottery secretary called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto legislation placing warning labels on tickets.

Rebecca Paul Hargrove, now president of the World Lottery Association, said Florida could set an unfortunate precedent. Should the bill (HB 629) become law, it could hurt lottery-funded programs nationwide.

"The instant scratch-off games have been around for over 45 years, and sales of these games continue to grow every year," Hargrove wrote in a letter to DeSantis, "but more importantly the sales of these games continue to grow funding for good causes every year."

Hargrove said $50 billion worth of lottery tickets get sold each year nationwide. That raises about $10 billion to support various programs benefiting the public.

In Florida, she notes, the Lottery provides funding for public education. Since the program's launch in 1988, some $35 billion has been generated for schools. That includes financing 800,000 Bright Futures scholarships.

Hargrove feels partial to the program in the Sunshine State. In 1987, then-Gov. Bob Martinez tapped her to launch the Florida Lottery, which set first-year records.

She's also run lottery programs in Illinois and Georgia, and currently serves as president and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery. The World Lottery Association tapped her to lead the international group during a gathering in Argentina in November.

"During my Lottery career, my focus has been on how best to continue growing the much-needed funding for good causes while doing so with integrity," Hargrove writes.

"I am not aware of any North American Lottery that is required to print a warning message on the front of the instant scratch-off games ticket that is required to occupy 10 percent of the ticket real estate, similar to HB 629."

The Legislature passed the bill based on concerns about gambling addiction. Former Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a similar bill in 2017.

State revenue estimators at one point figured the legislation could result in a $64 million loss for the Lottery in the first full year of implementation. But based on that concern, lawmakers shortened the language for the warning substantially.

The legislation now requires ticket labels read either "WARNING: LOTTERY GAMES MAY BE ADDICTIVE" or simply "PLAY RESPONSIBLY."

Hargrove said if those warnings win DeSantis' approval, it could deliver a substantial negative impact on the entire lottery industry.

"Retailers may not want to carry instant scratch-off tickets due to negative image this warning message conveys about addiction, making retailer recruitment more difficult," Hargrove writes.

That comes not only because of the warning but a loss in marketing space on the ticket face. It could even interfere with security requirements around the bar code.

Ultimately, any loss in revenue for the state also means less money being pumped through the economy by retailers and prize winners.

"The Lottery industry has always proactively addressed problem gambling, through including 'Playing Responsibly' messaging on tickets and advertising materials as well as directly funding problem gambling organizations," Hargrove writes.

"The Florida Lottery is generating over $1 billion annually to good causes in Florida, and I do not want to see this valuable resource and funding stream damaged," she writes.

Why not start putting labels on knives, guns, hammers, cell phones, etc. This is ridiculous. Labels in my opinion have no effect on people who want to gamble, smoke or drink. Most everything can cause harm.

I believe in Occam's razor:

The Simplest Answer is Usually Correct.Yes Nod

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    June 27, 2016
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    instead of putting "warning labels" on lotto tickets, make it illegal to buy lottery tickets to minors. gift responsibly is not enough since it happens on Christmas.

      CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
      Central TN
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      January 4, 2012
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      Residing in the state of which Good ole Rebecca happens to be the Prez of our Lottery, I do have serious objections to her notion that placing a label on something "could hurt lottery-funded programs nationwide".

      After all "Becky" you do have the words in green capitol letters " PLAY RESPONSIBLY " on all the back of TN scratcher tickets. Not to mention that same exact notice in purple on the back of other draw games ie. PB & MM etc etc

      See Below(all tickets posted below are non winners- $20scratcher/back of MM tckt/PB front view)

      So folks, let us journey to Rebecca Hargroves wonderful state website shall we ?...Hang on boys and girls as the TN lottery has a grade "D" from Lottery post(see "state lottery report card")...Shhhhh just keep that under your hat for right now

       Here we go...............

      Triple W tnlottery dotcom ( past practice of LP deleting links in news articles caused me to post it this way-Sorry)

      As you open the page, take a good look at PB/MM/LA. Notice the cash values ??  Me either... Rebecca my dear, why not post these cash values ? After all, nobody in many years has accepted the Annuity (2015 MM I believe, but could be wrong)...... Come awwwn Rebecca, why hide the cash value? After all, it is an option that most winners take... Heck,even the recent young PB winner from Wisconsin was talked into taking the cash option. Better yet, look at the 2nd row of games----all RNG. Isn't that special and wonderful ?

      Let's continue,.....Next on the agenda..TN Scratchers... triple W tnlottery dotcom/games/instant-games

      Now click on the section marked "$20", go to the second row and click on that far right one to see the face of the ticket I posted above.... Sure enough,no warning on the face... But just for S&G click on the "learn more".... Isn't that a wealth of information about that game?  Better yet click the top left "X" to get out of that page and go to the "remaining prizes" to find out more.(hint: gotta remember the game number 860 to find out) How was THAT for a treasure trove of information on all the remaining prizes?..How about that $1 Million dollar grand prize being paid out over 25 years ?  BTW that's on all the scratchers with a prize of a million or more...BUT we do have that PLAY RESPONSIBLY on the back

      Sooooooooo, lets go back to the main page, scroll way down to the bottom(on the left) and hit the "play responsibly".....Well lookie there...by George there are 4 places to look for help with the phone numbers should you have gambling concerns. So by putting "play responsibly" on Rebecca's lottery tickets, she has warned folks. Granted, it is hidden a bit from direct view, But it's a heck of alot better than trying to find all the prize amounts are on all TN scratch tickets.

      Just my 2 pennies on the subject at hand

      Integrity: There is just no substitute.

        music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
        USN United States Navy
        Fresno, California
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        After Florida posts a warning label we will find out if it works. It is just one State. 

         "We are all in this together!" 

          cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

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          March 28, 2019
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          "I am not aware of any North American Lottery that is required to print a warning message on the front of the instant scratch-off games ticket that is required to occupy 10 percent of the ticket real estate, similar to HB 629."

          10% sounds like a lot of space, but the fronts of scratch-off tickets are not the greatest examples of good graphic design and efficient use of space to begin with.  In CA the fronts of draw game tickets have "Play Responsibly" printed in a narrow strip on the right side. It takes up about 10% of the area of the ticket and is fairly unobtrusive, and it could be applied to FL scratch-offs the same way without interfering too much with the "art," such as it is. Warning labels are things that your brain quickly trains itself to ignore anyway.

          I think Hargrove is overreacting, but I guess she wouldn't be president of WLA if her response was "Sucks, but we'll manage."

            cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

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            "I am not aware of any North American Lottery that is required to print a warning message on the front of the instant scratch-off games ticket that is required to occupy 10 percent of the ticket real estate, similar to HB 629."

            10% sounds like a lot of space, but the fronts of scratch-off tickets are not the greatest examples of good graphic design and efficient use of space to begin with.  In CA the fronts of draw game tickets have "Play Responsibly" printed in a narrow strip on the right side. It takes up about 10% of the area of the ticket and is fairly unobtrusive, and it could be applied to FL scratch-offs the same way without interfering too much with the "art," such as it is. Warning labels are things that your brain quickly trains itself to ignore anyway.

            I think Hargrove is overreacting, but I guess she wouldn't be president of WLA if her response was "Sucks, but we'll manage."

            Out of curiosity I found an old CA draw game ticket and measured. Ticket is 3 1/4 inches wide and the "Play Responsibly" strip going down the side is 3/8 inches wide. It takes up 11.5% of the ticket, which is surprising to me because it seems like a lot less just eyeballing it. In the event the governor signs the bill, I think the art department of International Game Technology (the company that prints FL's scratch-offs) will figure it out.

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              Simpsonville
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              My favorite disclaimer was years ago with those cardboard things you put in your windshield to block the sun 'Do not drive with this in place'.  Still think the whole idea is ludicrous.  People are going to drink, smoke and they are labeled as hazardous to your health and or that to an unborn baby.

               

              Off the subject, Hoosier lottery said today is 'Happy millionaire to be day' or something like that.  Also said still #1 in Powerball JACKPOT winners @ 39.

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                Zeta Reticuli Star System
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                Some of those 'lottery funded programs' she's worried about are obviously bonuses for directors and higher ups.

                She doesn't realize a simple CYA statement like 'May Be Addictive' just might help a lottery out in a lawsuit when someone says, "No one told me how addictive these games could be..........If anyone had of I'd have never blown the 'tens of thousands of dollars'; (actually much less) I spent just trying to win or at least get my money back and get even."

                Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                Lep

                There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

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                  Chief Bottle Washer
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                  Out of curiosity I found an old CA draw game ticket and measured. Ticket is 3 1/4 inches wide and the "Play Responsibly" strip going down the side is 3/8 inches wide. It takes up 11.5% of the ticket, which is surprising to me because it seems like a lot less just eyeballing it. In the event the governor signs the bill, I think the art department of International Game Technology (the company that prints FL's scratch-offs) will figure it out.

                  Good point. 👍

                   

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                    KY Floyd's avatar - lysol avatar.jpg
                    NY
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                    "Notice the cash values ??  Me either... Rebecca my dear, why not post these cash values ?"

                    Because the cash values are lower, and posting lower prize amounts might hurt sales. You and I might want to know the cash value, but plenty of people see the MM jackpot being advertised as $367 million and think that's what they'll actually get if they win. It all seems pretty consistent with her opposition to including the warning because it might reduce sales.

                    From the article: "During my Lottery career, my focus has been on how best to continue growing the much-needed funding for good causes while doing so with integrity,"

                    According to Google Translate, in common English that says her primary goal has been to maximize revenue, and that's what the lottery is all about. The stuff about possibly interfering with security is either deliberate BS or the result of incredible stupidity. A while back I bought MM and PB tickets in NH, and they were at least 6" long, although I only played one set of numbers on each. Close to half of the ticket ws covered with some kind of advertising. Instead of a 3/8" strip down one side each ticket could start or end with a warning  3/8 to 1/2" high and allow everything else to be printed exactly as it would be if there was no notice about the possibility of addiction or excessive gambling.

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                      Kentucky
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                      Saw last week where Tiger Woods, his restaurant and its manager are being sued for serving a habitual drunkard. In Florida "Serving a visibly intoxicated person is not a basis for a lawsuit, nor is allowing them to drive and puts the responsibly on the intoxicated person to act responsibly."

                      This lawsuit is probably about going after "the deepest pockets" and hoping for a nice settlement. Are habitual gamblers responsible for their actions too or should family members or spouses place the blame on whoever is selling the tickets?

                      Every day thousands or maybe millions of scratch-off players are seen buying their tickets from self serve vending machines and who knows if any of them can really afford it or are spending their last dollar or last $20. Does anybody really believe they will quit if even 75% of the ticket was covered by disclaimers?

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                        Chasing $ Millions.
                        White Shores- California
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                        Saw last week where Tiger Woods, his restaurant and its manager are being sued for serving a habitual drunkard. In Florida "Serving a visibly intoxicated person is not a basis for a lawsuit, nor is allowing them to drive and puts the responsibly on the intoxicated person to act responsibly."

                        This lawsuit is probably about going after "the deepest pockets" and hoping for a nice settlement. Are habitual gamblers responsible for their actions too or should family members or spouses place the blame on whoever is selling the tickets?

                        Every day thousands or maybe millions of scratch-off players are seen buying their tickets from self serve vending machines and who knows if any of them can really afford it or are spending their last dollar or last $20. Does anybody really believe they will quit if even 75% of the ticket was covered by disclaimers?

                        l read where they were asking for $15K. Apparently this guy worked at that property as a bartender.?Which raises the question : When one applies for a bartending job, are you asked whether you are a drunk or have ever been arrested for a DUI? The attorney suggested that Tiger & company knew this guy was a drunk. So drunks cannot get a job bartending l guess unless they constantly monitored. We talking babysitting an adult.Disapprove

                         * Voice of Reason *   

                         

                        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

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                          Chasing $ Millions.
                          White Shores- California
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                          After Florida posts a warning label we will find out if it works. It is just one State. 

                          Some people drink & drive, knowing full well the consequences  - what does this warning label do, absolutely nothing! When one is driven, there is nothing authorities can do or say.

                           * Voice of Reason *   

                           

                          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

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                            Kentucky
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                            l read where they were asking for $15K. Apparently this guy worked at that property as a bartender.?Which raises the question : When one applies for a bartending job, are you asked whether you are a drunk or have ever been arrested for a DUI? The attorney suggested that Tiger & company knew this guy was a drunk. So drunks cannot get a job bartending l guess unless they constantly monitored. We talking babysitting an adult.Disapprove

                            From what I read the Tiger thing won't be heard. A while back we discussed the "Gloria and Scott" lawsuit and the first one never went forward so it looks like Florida laws makes it more difficult to sue. 

                            The lawyer said tapes showing him drinking after his shift were missing/destroyed or something. I'd really like to see the video of the ex chasing Tiger with a seven iron.LOL

                            Wonder if the Florida legislators plan on putting warning labels on winners checks. "Don't the spend winnings on heroin".