Call to Suspend Lottery Gambling Until COVID-19 Subsides
Leading antigambling group, Stop Predatory Gambling has called for states to suspend lottery gambling during the coronavirus crisis. State lotteries have continued operating amid the Pandemic. Les Bernal who leads Stop Predatory Gambling, stated that the nonprofit group wants to put an end to fraud that commercializes gambling.
Billions of dollars could be issued into the coronavirus relief aid. The aid is being used to help citizens pay for food and make mortgage or rent payments. Stop Predatory Gambling says the aid will then be used to subsidize state lotteries. With that, the group has called on states to suspend lottery gambling. Well, until some sense of normality has been restored.
Could the lottery suspension happen?
Almost 22 million citizens have applied for the unemployment benefits since March 2020. The federal government has already started making a one-time payment of up to $1,200 per adult. A large number of businesses have remained closed and lawmakers are plunging tax revenues.
Removing the lottery revenue could be a hard sell for states. Bernal said facts show that citizens play the lottery to change their financial condition. More so, when there is a sense of desperation during this time. Enticing citizens to play the lottery defeats the purpose of the benefit.
Bernal has written a letter asking governors to suspend lottery gambling immediately. This is until at least 30 days after citizens receive the benefits payment. On Monday, the organization sent out the letter. Governors and attorneys general in 45 states have received it. The only states that do not have lottery betting are Alaska, Alabama, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. Many state lotteries include video lottery terminals, jackpot drawings, and scratch-off tickets.
What will happen should states suspend lottery gambling?
While casinos have close down, lotteries have remained available during the Pandemic. Lottery outlets, such as gas stations, have been considered essential businesses. Only six states offer online lottery ticket sales. But, lottery sales have also taken a hit during the Pandemic.
State lottery sales go towards educational programs, infrastructure, and tax relief. The lottery has also boosted the retailer’s month to month sales. Suspending the lottery will affect the programs that benefit from it.
Governors across the country have deemed the lottery as an essential business. This is because of the programs under the lotteries. The call to suspend lottery gambling will be an unpopular decision. This is because lotteries exist to make money for good causes. Gordon Medenica said he discards the idea of shelving lotteries during the crisis. Medenica is the Director of the interstate Mega Millions Consortium. He also said this is a pretext for antigambling activists to push their agenda.