SPG urges government officials to suspend lottery activities for 30 days, citing COVID-19 concerns and discussing the citizen stimulus giveaway.
Pausing Lottery for 30 Days
The United States faces difficult times with the COVID-19 epidemic. While some $1,200 stimulus checks per citizen were announced, a question keeps rising if the lotteries should be paused until the emergency situation is over.
The attorney generals and governors in the US were already contacted by the Stop Predatory Gambling foundation with a request to temporarily pause lottery activities for a minimum of 30 days after the stimulus checks are distributed.
Huge numbers of state officials have received letters by the foundation. The plan is to temporarily pause the lottery in all states and the District of Columbia. The states of Alabama, Hawaii, Alaska, Utah and Nevada won’t be affected by the proposed pause as they don’t have a state lottery.
SPG – the Aid is Not for Gambling
We are writing to call on you to immediately shut down the marketing and selling of all state lottery gambling games until the financial turmoil caused by the coronavirus has passed.“
says Les Bernal of (SPG) Stop Predatory Gambling in his official letter. He also noted that the main reason why the temporary pause should be applied is that federal tax dollars are supposed to aid society by helping with mortgages, rents, and food, not gambling.
It is proven that a big part of American society is already participating in different lotteries and sorts of gambling. Given the strain that the virus outbreak is putting on society, Bernal has a point in expressing concerns about a further escalation that can result in people wasting their money due to the sense of desperation.
Pause Unlikely to Happen, Tax Revenue Helps the States
The US states have been on shutdown since March 22. With the shutdown, the closing of non-essential businesses was ordered. Still, lottery tickets, scratch cards, and similar products are available in most convenient stores as well as gas stations.
Those businesses, which are labeled as essential ones, are still operating, thus allowing the people to buy as many lottery tickets as they want. Furthermore, there are also six states that offer online ticket purchases.
Although SPG’s idea sounds sensible given the circumstances, officials are probably going to be skeptical. Considering that revenues from taxes are thinning on a country-wide level, government authorities are highly unlikely to agree on the lottery ban.
As after all, if the pause is agreed upon, that would reduce the tax revenue inevitably. For 2018 alone, tax revenue from lottery sales for the United States totaled $76 billion.
Information for 2019 lottery sales is still unavailable.