Bill Requiring Addiction Warnings on Lottery Tickets Reappears in Florida Legislature

A bill requiring lottery vendors to place a warning message about addiction risks on lottery tickets is gaining momentum in the Florida Legislature

The measure – House Bill 629 – survived on Thursday a vote in the House Commerce Committee. The bill’s approval in the committee paved its way for a full House floor review. An identical piece of legislation was introduced in the Senate, as well, but that one is yet to be reviewed by members of the Legislature’s upper house.

Authored by Rep. Will Robinson, HB 629 will require all Florida-facing lottery vendors to place the same message on the front of all lottery products distributed across the state. In addition, the piece mandates that the Lottery Department put the same message on all lottery ads and promotions.

The exact wording of the message proposed by Rep. Robinson is:

“Warning: Playing a Lottery game constitutes gambling and may lead to addiction and/or compulsive behavior.

The chances of winning a big prize are very low.”

Senator Keith Perry has submitted the Senate version of Rep. Robinson’s piece. As mentioned above, the measure has not been heard in Senate committees yet.

Record Lottery Sales

News about Florida potentially moving to add a warning notice on all lottery tickets came shortly after the state’s Lottery Secretary, Jim Poppell, announced that the Florida Lottery was on pace to surpass its record sales of $6.7 billion in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Last month, major lottery provider Scientific Games Corp. said that its long-time partner, the Florida Lottery, has broken the record for single-week retail sales of instant lottery games in the United States. Florida residents purchased $126.3 million worth of scratchcards in the week ending March 3, 2019.

There was a similar push for adding a warning on the front of lottery tickets in 2017. Back then, the measure passed the House effortlessly, and even though it faced some opposition in the Senate, it survived through that legislative hurdle, as well.
However, the proposal was vetoed by then Florida Governor Rick Scott. Gov. Scott said the piece imposed “burdensome regulations on the Lottery and its retail partners”and that many of the notice provisions it contained were “duplicative of current Lottery initiatives.”

With a new Governor on board, it is to be seen whether the rekindled push will have similar success in the two chambers of the state Legislature and whether it will receive the necessary approval from Florida’s top official.