Not a wise bet

Georgia shouldn't make lottery tickets available online

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The Georgia lottery has to be run like a business, and is under significant pressure to make continually more money for the state’s college and pre-kindergarten scholarships.

We get that.

But when officials advocate making tickets available online by saying that lotteries “are one of the last industries not to offer our products digitally,” they’re being a little disingenuous.

Their “product” isn’t exactly a pair of socks or the latest DVD. It’s a gambling ticket. It’s gambling. And it’s potentially very addicting and very subject to abuse and very hazardous – not just to gamblers but to their loved ones.

Not every “product” should be made available digitally. This is one of them.

Good grief, time was that gambling was considered so dangerous and corrosive to society that one pretty much had to travel to Nevada or Atlantic City, N.J., to engage in it. Now we’re going to offer it on laptops?

Gov. Nathan Deal has opposed other forms of expanded gambling in Georgia. A developer, for instance, is pressuring the lottery board to approve what amounts to a lottery casino – a complex in Norcross where players could come in and play a variety of electronic games run by the Georgia Lottery.

So we were surprised and disappointed that the governor gave his blessing to the lottery’s plans for online ticket sales – which will begin late this year or next with a limited menu of Powerball, Mega Millions and Fantasy 5. An electronic version of instant-win tickets is coming down the road.

This is one product where convenience may not be such a good thing. If gambling must be available, it should require players to go a little out of their way, in order to protect not just themselves but society as a whole from the ill effects of compulsive gambling.

As opposed to most other products and businesses, the lottery business has the burden of being careful not to encourage irresponsibility and pathology. This burden is all the more acute because it’s the government offering this gambling. This is why you see the “play responsibly” warnings in its advertising.

Yet, you’ll never come across a more relentless industry than gambling. It works for years, if not decades, to get its nose under the tent. Once that’s accomplished, attempts to get more of the casino camel inside the tent never cease. One example from other states: When parimutuel betting was collapsing, the solution prescribed by many was casino-style gambling.

So even when gambling fails, they simply double-down.

Every step along the way, we’re told it’s only a baby step.

Indeed, Georgia Lottery president Margaret DeFrancisco admits that online ticket sales “will not be a huge piece of revenue.”

So why do it, considering the societal costs of compulsive gambling?

In many cases, states have provided gambling against their better judgment.

There’s nothing that says it has to be super-convenient.

Fact is, it shouldn’t be.

Comments (19) Add comment
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seenitB4
87304
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seenitB4 07/30/12 - 04:10 am
4
2
Say what

Where have you been,.....they are gambling online already in all sorts of ways....people will gamble & life goes on...believe it or not.....now go catch some bad guys on Broad St.

TParty
6003
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TParty 07/30/12 - 06:54 am
5
1
Personal responsibility. Not

Personal responsibility. Not sure why the ACES wants the government involved to be our nanny. Very surprising.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 07/30/12 - 07:05 am
5
8
So what's the AC's stand on

So what's the AC's stand on ordering 6,000 rounds of ammo over the internet?

Riverman1
84011
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Riverman1 07/30/12 - 07:16 am
11
1
Buy and sell stocks online.

Buy and sell stocks online. We do that now, although there are days I wish I hadn't.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 07/30/12 - 07:58 am
8
0
With the new expanded

With the new expanded editorial section, it appears that the Chronicle has succumbed to the pressure to be more liberal...

Yesterday, it endorsed TSPLOST as an "investment" and a stimulus package.

Today, it opposes free market capitalism.

What will it be tomorrow?

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 07/30/12 - 07:58 am
6
1
Lottery on-line ticket selling

I get it, AC! There are people out here that do Not know how to control themselves, or maybe just will Not! Just look at the people that have out-of-control credit card bills now, just imagine what it will be with this. And if people can use their EBT cards for getting their nails done,etc., just imagine what will happen with lottery on-line ticket selling................There are many people that need someone watching out for them, they just don't realize it!

grouse
1635
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grouse 07/30/12 - 08:37 am
6
2
The ACES evidently believes
Unpublished

The ACES evidently believes in a nanny state that protects adults from themselves...

harley_52
23377
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harley_52 07/30/12 - 08:53 am
8
1
I'm With "TParty".....

....and the other lefties on this one. It's not government's job to protect people from themselves.

Computers don't buy the tickets, people do. (sound familiar?)

Little Lamb
46022
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Little Lamb 07/30/12 - 09:59 am
3
2
Ideas

Well, apparently the genie is out of the bottle and online lottery is a fait accompli. So, to address concerns about compulsive gambling, they could make a price differential between in-store and online tickets.

For example, if a Fantasy 5 ticket in the store is $1, then make the online Fantasy 5 five dollars. That way the state gets more revenue and the gambler pays for his convenience.

dichotomy
32982
Points
dichotomy 07/30/12 - 10:34 am
7
1
"And it’s potentially very

"And it’s potentially very addicting and very subject to abuse"

Well true BUT I am tired of the majority being inconvenienced to "protect" the few who are going to do the wrong thing anyway. The NANNY state always punishes the law abiding because of the few and then refuses to punish the few even when they catch them. I'm tired of being the only one inconvenienced.

I am scrutinized like a criminal when I want to buy some sudafed for my cold. The meth makers don't seem to have any problem at all getting what they need to make meth.

I'm 63 years old and have to show ID and recite my birthday to buy a pack of cigarettes. Teenagers don't seem to have any problem getting cigarettes.

I have to fill out forms, show ID, and either be a permit holder or go through a waiting period to buy a handgun. Teenagers, felons, and thugs don't seem to haven any problem obtaining a handgun.

And look how many innocent, law abiding travelers are being inconvenienced by our intrusive TSA searches when it is already proven that simple profiling is more effective. But no, we protect the probable at the extremely intrusive expense of the highly unlikely.

Having government policies that punish and inconvenience the majority because of the few who are addicted or criminal does not work. Never has. More and more laws, restrictions, and government intrusion only inconvenience the people who do the right thing and obey the laws anyway. They do nothing to stop the criminals and keep addiction prone people from becoming addicts.

MadSnapper
64
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MadSnapper 07/30/12 - 10:37 am
8
0
The Lottery is a voluntary

The Lottery is a voluntary tax on everyone who plays, and it would be a safe bet that the majority of daily players otherwise pay no or very little taxes. I believe a National Lottery run by the government, with proceeds being used to pay for entitlement programs would be very successful, with most people not even realizing that it is a tax. Those who win would truly be the "more fortunate among us" having not had to work for their money and won't mind being taxed at a 40% or so rate. No person would have to play, but once again, those who are so passionate about the need to spread the wealth around by taking other people's money would self fund this idea. The idea needs some tweaking but you hopefully get the gist of it.

allhans
23651
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allhans 07/30/12 - 11:51 am
6
0
Mad snapper..Good post. I am

Mad snapper..Good post. I am guessing that a person will need a credit card, so I don't know how low this could go.

harley_52
23377
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harley_52 07/30/12 - 12:26 pm
5
3
MadSnapper....

....excellent idea, but we'd have to have somebody other than democrats in charge..

I'm thinking the democrats would soon determine it "isn't fair" that "the poor" can't afford tickets, so soon they'd be issued tickets paid for by "the rich" not unlike the way food stamps are today.

They'd be playing with your money and paid with your money.

justthefacts
21892
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justthefacts 07/30/12 - 12:48 pm
4
0
National Lottery

Agree with madsnapper, but one argument has always been that it would kill the state lotteries.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 07/30/12 - 03:07 pm
2
1
justthefacts

Go back to the story about the UGA attempt to acquire Penn state players. I left a message there for you. Thanks

socks99
250
Points
socks99 07/30/12 - 04:15 pm
3
0
Perhaps ACES could lament the

Perhaps ACES could lament the state's indulgence in gambling, and leave it at that?

If they'd change "HOPE" to "DOPE" and use it to sponsor all-expenses paid trips into the state's big house, that would be one thing!

Calling it "HOPE" and using it to sponsor higher education for the state's brightest students is beneath contempt; it's vulgar and profane.

Like a Ponzi scheme, or a week-end trip to Vegas with the education fund, it will end in tears! (With or without online gambling ...).

justthefacts
21892
Points
justthefacts 07/30/12 - 04:29 pm
1
0
Mr Duvall

No problem. Thanks.

specsta
6505
Points
specsta 07/30/12 - 04:30 pm
4
0
Why So Many Dumb Laws?

Not only should there be online lottery sales, but the state should also permit Vegas-style casino operations, licensed prostitution, and medical marijuana dispensaries. The state should have no business telling grown folks what services they can buy and it should not limit any enterprise that involves consenting adults.

How many laws must citizens succumb to? Legislators waste the people's time with trivial nonsense. Even at the national level. lawmakers spent more time in this Congress renaming post offices than addressing real issues. If anything, it should be illegal for elected officials to pass laws that encroach on the private lives of citizens.

YeCats
10785
Points
YeCats 07/30/12 - 04:34 pm
3
0
Government

Government lottery.

Government heath care.

Government should serve us, all of us. Not run businesses for/against us!

I'm all for allowing the public to decide, and lotto was voted in by the good citizens. Yet, did we really do ourselves a favor, by allowing government to handle more capital?

I agree with the ACES. And, if you play, or not,,,, you're gonna pay.

DMPerryJr
1698
Points
DMPerryJr 07/30/12 - 06:19 pm
5
1
I'm against State-Run

lotteries and always have been.

If I can't host a poker game without being considered in violation of the law, then the state should not be in the business of promoting gambling of any sort.

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