PolitiCal

On politics in the Golden State

Category: lottery

New lottery ad glamorizes violence, California legislators complain

The leaders of the California Legislative Women's Caucus called for removal of a state lottery television ad that shows a woman slapping a man across the face, saying it sanctions violence

The leaders of the California Legislative Women's Caucus called for removal of a state lottery television ad that shows a woman slapping a man across the face, saying it sanctions violence.

"It is inappropriate for any entity, especially a state-funded Commission, to promote its products through the use of violence," state Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), the caucus chairwoman, and Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), the caucus co-chair, wrote to the head of the Lottery Commission.

The California Lottery's "Luck has a new look" ad shows a mysterious woman in black -- Lady Luck -- who walks up to a man playing a new scratcher lottery card in a bowling alley and then slaps him in the face, after which the guy yells "I won." Lady Luck walks away smiling.

The lawmakers note that the Legislature has taken a position against violence against women, but that they believe violence by women against men is also a serious problem.

"This commercial glamorizes violence under the auspice of "lady luck" and we find it offensive and counterproductive to society at large," they wrote, asking the lottery to better scrutinize the content of future adds to prevent "harmful messages that are paid for with public dollars."

Asked about the complaint, lottery officials did not immediately have a response, but the ad could no longer be found on the lottery's website.

[Updated 6:18 p.m. The Lottery announced it would replace the ad with one in which Lady Luck blows a kiss rather than slaps the man playing the scratcher]

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Lottery tickets. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Bill would boost California Lottery jackpots

The state Lottery would be allowed to pay out more money on jackpots, with the aim of gaining more players and boosting funding for schools, under a measure that advanced Tuesday, but Los Angeles’ teachers are skeptical.

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Castro Valley) said her legislation would ultimately mean more money for education, but the United Teachers of Los Angeles objected during a committee hearing that it would allow funds to be shifted from education to prizes.

Voters approved the lottery in 1984 with a requirement that at least 84% of the money go back to the public, at least half in prizes and 34% to schools. Hayashi’s proposal would increase the amount going back to the public to 87%, which would allow more revenue to be put into bigger jackpots, but would leave it to the Lottery Commission to decide how much goes to education.

Based on experiences in other states,  lottery industry officials estimated that bigger prizes would draw more players, boosting money for schools from the current $1 billion to $1.4 billion each year.

The Senate Governmental Organization Committee was impressed and unanimously approved AB 142, despite protests by the UTLA.

"The percentage for education will now be determined by a commission, and all that does is cause us to be involved in a political situation where education may not get what it received before,’’ said Harold L. Boyd Jr., a UTLA lobbyist. 

Ross Warren, a consultant to Hayashi, said the bill requires the state to revert back to the old formulas  if the change does not produce at least the same amount that schools are now getting.

--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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