US anti-gambling organization urges to close lotteries during pandemic
Currently, the United States is the world leader on the rate of spread of the coronavirus. The US authorities have already taken quarantine measures across the country due to the rapidly growing pace of the pandemic.
All U.S. citizens were given cash assistance to buy products and necessities.
The anti-gambling organization Stop Predatory Gambling sent out 45 emails to high-ranking officials from different states urging them to close state lotteries for the period of special social security payments.
The director of the Stop Predatory Gambling organization, Les Bernal, expresses his concern about the fact that people may spend social benefits on the lottery rather than buy essential items.
He also said that there were many factors, which demonstrated that many citizens played the lottery to change their financial situation, especially when they felt a sense of despair.
However, this situation has a reverse side of the coin. Currently, the American economy is experiencing challenging times.
In 2018, the U.S. National Lottery sold tickets in the amount of $76 billion, which helped fill the treasury significantly.
Gordon Medenica, a director of the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency, says that the lotteries have not yet been closed because the tax revenues from state lotteries (in most states) are used to finance public schools and other services.
According to Gordon, they banned the lottery advertising in their state, and since the start of the pandemic, the lottery sales across the country have fallen by 30%.
Despite such statements, studies of American economists show that lotteries are quite popular among the poor groups of the population.
In those regions where unemployment rose to 1%, the lottery sales grew by almost 5%.
The anti-gambling organization Stop Predatory Gambling, in turn, has called on authorities of 45 states to considerably limit the operation of lotteries. Only 5 states did not receive the aforementioned emails: Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska, Alabama and Utah. This happened since there are no state lotteries in the given states.