April 17, 2014

Lottery launches problem gambler program.

The state lottery is launching a program that could keep people from buying an unhealthy number of tickets.

Gamblers can put themselves on a voluntary exclusion list from casinos. Now the lottery is offering the same thing. The Lottery Self-Exclusion Program will not let anyone claim any prize greater than $600. Prizes that big or bigger must be claimed at one of four state lottery offices where records of those on the list will be kept.

But lottery spokesman Susan Goedde admits the system does not keep people from spending a lot of money on tickets with lesser prizes. “All of our scratchers tickets would have prizes under that,” she says. So would online games.

She says studies show gamblers want to win the big prizes. And if they can’t they’re more likely not to buy tickets at all.

Goedde says only three other states have this program, with thirty or fewer people signing up for the lifetime ban in each state. But she says the program is worth it if it keeps only one problem gambler from buying tickets.

AUDIO: Goedde interview