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As I See It

Wisconsin lottery continues to violate constitution



Wisconsin has taken a variety of approaches to the lottery. Lawmakers were reticent to legalize games of chance years ago, but have come to rely on the revenue generated for state government, and property tax relief. In fact, Governor Walker is proposing, as part of his state budget, an increase in spending on lottery advertising. Walker says if we spend an additional $3 million a year on lottery advertising, ticket sales will increase, and people will get more property tax relief. But what no one ever mentions, or perhaps chooses to forget, is the restrictions put on lottery advertising when the games were first legalized. But in fact, it is clearly written in the constitution. It states, “The expenditure of public funds or of revenues derived from lottery operations to engage in promotional advertising of the Wisconsin state lottery is prohibited.  Any advertising of the state lottery shall indicate the odds of a specific lottery ticket to be selected as the winning ticket for each prize amount offered. “ So, the constitution says we can advertise the lottery, but cannot promote the lottery. Have you seen the lottery ads? Sure, they explain the odds, but they certainly promote playing the games. How else do you explain those cheesy smiles on those actors who look so happy playing their scratch games. Before Wisconsin spends any more money on lottery advertising, our lawmakers should refresh their knowledge of the state constitution.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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