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Lottery: Gambling-camel's Head Under The Tent!!

Source: The State (Columbia, SC), August 12, 2000, "Op Ed piece", pA11:


The Massachusetts lottery began in 1972 with a 50-cent-ticket weekly drawing. One year later, scratch tickets with instant payoffs were introduced. Today, the lottery has nearly 1,600 keno (casino-style video terminal) locations and 33 instant games, for an annual take of more than $3 billion.

There is nothing atypical about Massachusetts' slide from a relatively innocent, low-stakes lottery into high-dollar, high-addiction gambling.

Traditional lotteries with their daily or weekly drawings are not exciting enough to keep the cash flowing. Consequently, play drops off, and newer, more exciting - and more addictive - games must be introduced to cover state funding commitments. Current trends in the lottery industry mean South Carolina's descent into the most addictive forms of the lottery would be greatly accelerated.

The lottery industry's player base is aging, and sales are sagging. Lottery operators are responding. Public Gaming International recently asked members of the lottery industry what they see as the future of lotteries. Their comments are telling.

  • "As we . . . move into the 21st century, we need to focus on capturing our younger players with new and innovative games." -Virginia Hanes, executive director, New Jersey Lottery.
  • "Lotteries will have to be faster moving and much more willing to make changes in order to keep our players' interest." -Jim Maguire, director, Indiana Lottery.
  • "I have seen more and developed more new product ideas in the last six months than in the last 15 years put together. Watch out, 2000. There will be a lot of . . . lottery products to pique consumer interest." -Ed Stanek, commissioner, Iowa Lottery.
  • "To capture the attention and interest of tomorrow's players will require instant ticket results revealed with the wipe of a finger across a computer screen in early 2000, or lotteries on demand utilizing multimedia screens." -Linda Cloud, executive director, Texas Lottery Commission.
  • "It will become common for players to . . . play . . . wherever they want, in their homes, cars, on the beach, an airplane, anywhere." -Arch Gleason, president and CEO, Kentucky Lottery Corp.
  • "We must rethink our game strategies, we must incorporate . . . billion dollar jackpots offered by a new consortium of Powerball and Big Game states." -Anthony S. Cooper, executive director, D.C. Lottery.
  • "Linking video lottery terminals to form . . . progressive jackpots (will be) the key to increased player-ship." -John C. Musgrave, director, West Virginia Lottery.


Cliff Dutton, president of GTECH Corp.' s UWin!, is confident that lotteries will dominate the Internet's estimated $10 billion gambling market by 2003. He says: "The regulatory limits of today won't last forever. Internet lottery play will be a dramatic trend . . . in America."

These trends would force South Carolina to adopt the most aggressive and addictive forms of lottery gambling in order to remain profitable. This would be very harmful to our citizens and potentially very corrupting for our state.

With the elimination of video poker, South Carolina has become a better place to visit, live and raise children. Let's not be guilty of taking one step forward and two steps backward by introducing new forms of gambling we may never be able to remove. South Carolinians should refuse to become a player in the gambling industry and vote "No" to a lottery this November.

[Mr. Caiello, interim president of Palmetto Family Council, lives with his wife and three sons in Irmo, S. C. He can be reached at]

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(posted: 19 August 2000)