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Florida to Revamp Lottery

1 August 2011 by admin

Florida-lotteryThe U.S. state of Florida has an odd relationship with gambling. Casinos are only allowed on native reservations. Online casino gaming, though not expressly prohibited, are not regulated or conducted in a manner that ensures compliance with state laws. Bingo is okay in some locations and horse and dog racing are allowed, but Internet gambling cafes are either illegal or exist due to a legal loophole. And then there is the lottery.

Voters approved of a state-run lottery via referendum 25 years ago. The government enthusiastically offered the games of chance, despite turning up their noses at casino games with better odds. While allowing blackjack, a game with excellent odds, at the tribal casinos took a lot of intense legislative fighting, few lawmakers oppose the Lottery. Now the only problem with the lottery, according to lawmakers, is that it is not popular enough.

Sales of lottery tickets are down in Florida, in part because of the economic recession and in part because there are much better gambling alternatives with much better odds. Even the worst casino game has better odds than the Lotto, so players would rather take a spin on the slots than buy a card at their local gas station. As a result, the fiscal year ending June 30 saw revenue at approximately $4 billion, which is an improvement over the last four years but still down 4% from 2007.

Governor Rick Scott has appointed Cynthia O’Connell to lead the Lottery. She is tasked with rebranding the product and making it more popular. Her biggest challenge is bringing in the younger demographics, since it is primarily older people who play the Lottery. Among the changes she is expected to make are redesigning the Lottery website and creating a social media presence. The goal is to make the Lottery cool for younger players.

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