Ron DeSantis Asked to Veto Lottery Bill Which Would Slash Millions from Education Funding

The president of the World Lottery Association (WLA) has asked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to veto a bill putting a “warning label” language on lottery tickets.

If signed into law, Florida would be the only state in the nation with a large print “warning” label on scratch off tickets. Estimates have shown that K-12 Florida education funding would lose around $61 million and thousands of Bright Futures Scholarships could be at risk.

In a letter to DeSantis, WLA president Rebecca Paul Hargrove pointed out that since 1988 the Florida Lottery has generated more than $35 billion dollars for education with more than 800,000 students receiving a Bright Futures scholarship.

Hargrove said she isn’t aware of any lottery in North America that is required to print a large warning message taking up 10 percent of the front of instant scratch-off tickets.

“This requirement will have a substantial negative impact on the Florida Lottery as well as to our industry,” Hargrove said. “I am concerned that devoting 10 percent of the ticket real estate and advertising to this warning message will have consequences.”

In the letter to DeSantis, Hargrove cited data showing how much could be lost across the state.

“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 by HB 629,” Hargrove said.

The WLA president also contended that small retailers across Florida will also be hit if this legislation is allowed into law.

Hargrove estimated that there would be a $235 million reduction in Florida Lottery top line sales, resulting in a loss of $61 million education dollars and a loss of $14.1 million retailer commissions.

“Undoubtedly, the Florida Retailer Associations will voice their concerns over this lost revenue and the $152 million in lost prize money that will not circulate in the economy, including a large portion that most likely would be circulated within the retailer community,” Hargrove wrote DeSantis.

“Ultimately, a loss in revenue, top line sales, education benefits, retailer commissions, player prizes  will have a huge negative economic impact because it will mean fewer education dollars, fewer dollars for the Lottery to run its billion dollar business and less infrastructure for lottery partners to run their business, including investment,” she wrote DeSantis. “If this bill were signed into law it could and will likely have a national industry impact. Our industry would not want Florida to set in motion a trend in legislatures that ultimately leads to a reduction in dollars for lottery beneficiaries, including college scholarships, pre-K funding, healthcare funding, programs that support senior citizens and state budgets.

“Governor DeSantis, 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. It is my belief the industry, and more importantly the recipients of the good causes such as the Bright Futures scholarships will be hurt if HB629 is signed into law. 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 by HB 629,” she wrote in conclusion.

 

Contact Ed at Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com.

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