EDITORIAL: A lotto hypocrisy
Jan 20, 2013 (Florence Morning News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
New plans may be afoot for the South Carolina Education Lottery, which means there is once again a whiff of hypocrisy in the air.
It can't be helped.
South Carolina's state government has taken stand after stand against gambling, even prohibiting Saturday night poker at Bob's house or regular bingo games at Our Lady of the Palmetto Church. But when it comes to a state-run lottery, the standard is completely different. A $300 million-a-year-revenue cow Now that is sacred.
The latest debate deals with whether or not the state should sell lottery tickets online. The genesis behind this crackerjack idea is the long lines at convenience stores last fall when the big Powerball drawing was on the cusp. Some legislators think citizens should not be inconvenienced while wasting money on lottery tickets. So why not make it easier still
This initiative, like the S.C. lottery in general, is a copycat of other states, including nearby Georgia, which South Carolinians often find themselves emulating in unseemly matters. It comes, somewhat ironically, on the heels of a recent surge in lottery sales here. Sales climbed 8.5 percent in 2011-12 to more than $1.1 billion, and are up another 9 percent through the first five months of the current fiscal year.
No legislation has been introduced so far for online sales -- it's just legislator talk at this point -- but lottery chief exec Paula Harper Bethea is already doing a little hand-wringing over the proposed scheme. It may take sales away from the lottery's decade-old network of stores and outlets, which is no way to treat a partner in crime. And, it might allow lottery tickets to fall into the hands of ... gulp ... children.
That's a worry all right, but one the lotteryites probably should have thought of before they started the whole shebang. Might teens -- and kids younger still -- somehow find a way to buy an Internet ticket, even if it were made illegal Yeah, we think that just might happen. Would technological safeguards put in place by the South Carolina put a stop to that Go ask your local cyberhacker about that.
We actually doubt anyone is too worried. Lottery hand-wringing, like those TV ads where Bethea urges people to take "problem gambling" seriously, is mostly for show. Everyone knows that the lottery is gambling and that it's an unuseful activity that can have tragic outcomes. And, it's a fundraiser of dubious proportions. It's expensive to run and much of what is raised for schools and scholarships just replaces money legislators cut elsewhere. It's part of the Columbia shell game.
So peddle the tickets in dark alleys, take'em door-to-door or slide them into packs of gum like old-timey baseball cards; it's all the same as far as we're concerned.
Unsigned editorials represent the views of this newspaper. Editorial board members are: Mark Blum (regional publisher), Tucker Mitchell (regional editor), Kimberly Ginfrida (content manager), John Sweeney (political writer), Rebecca Ducker (multimedia editor), Matt Tate (assistant editor) and David Johnson (regional circulation director).
___ (c)2013 the Florence Morning News (Florence, S.C.) Visit the Florence
Morning News (Florence, S.C.) at www2.scnow.com/community/morningnews
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]