Lawmakers Want Lottery Ticket Warnings

After similar proposals were vetoed twice in recent years, House leaders are again trying to slap a warning on lottery tickets, while also seeking to declare the lottery off-limits if Florida allows sports gambling.

The House Gaming Control Subcommittee on Monday voted 14-1 to support a proposal that would require the words “Play responsibly” to cover five percent of the face of each ticket and be placed on all advertisements and promotions. The bill also would prohibit the use of electronic devices to play lottery games, forbid the Florida Lottery from conducting games in which winners are chosen based on the activities or outcomes of sporting events and use 500 thousand dollars a year from a lottery trust fund for compulsive and addictive gambling programs.

Supporters argue concern for potential addicts.

"A warning label does, I think, remind a certain amount of the lottery buying populace, that they could potentially have a problem," said Representative Anthony Sabatini.

In casting the lone vote against the measure, Democratic Representative Adam Hattersley said, "The warning label is slightly counterintuitive to the mission for the lottery, to be able to sell tickets to provide for education. I can get over that. The real stickler for me is taking half a million dollars away from public education.”

A Senate bill identical to the proposal has not been heard in committees, as lawmakers begin the third week of Florida’s 60-day legislative session.

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