Anti-gambling charity Stop Predatory Gambling has sent a letter to officials in all states with lotteries, calling on the states to stop lottery sales for 30 days as the US deals with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The organisation said the payments must be stopped for at least 30 days after Americans receive their $1,200 federal stimulus payments in order to prevent those who need to spend the money elsewhere from spending it on lotteries.
“It is essential that these games be shut down between now and at least 30 days after federal stimulus payments are received by American families,” the letter, from Stop Predatory Gambling national director Les Bernal, said. “The reason is simple. Federal tax dollars are being sent to American families in order to put food on the table, make rent or mortgage payments, or provide for other daily necessities – not to subsidize state lotteries.”
Bernal claimed there was “a mountain of facts” showing citizens gamble on lottery to change their financial situation, even more so when they are feeling a sense of desperation.
“Yet state government is continuing to market its lottery gambling games at the very same moment that citizens are receiving their economic relief checks from the US Treasury,” he said.
“Luring citizens to lose their money on lottery gambling games during this time defeats the intended purpose of the stimulus.”
Stop Predatory Gambling is a network of individuals and partner groups, which the organisation claims have members numbering more than 1m people. It was launched in 2008 and is based in Washington D.C., and runs campaigns such as the National Week of Action to Stop Predatory Gambling.