Florida bill aims to ban online lottery sales

18 February 2019

Florida lawmakers will this week run the rule over a bill that could lead to an outright ban on the sale of lottery tickets and games online.

Introduced by Representative William Cloud Robinson, House Bill 629 sets out plans to prohibit consumers from playing games or purchasing lottery tickets via a personal electronic device, limiting them to physical tickets only.

The legislation would apply to all mobile phones, smart phones, smart watches, tablets, laptops, desktops and any other devices that can connect to the internet.

The Gaming Control Subcommittee will consider the bill at a hearing on February 20. Should the bill pass into law, it would come into effect from July 1 of this year. 

Meanwhile, the bill also references new responsible gambling measures, setting out proposals to include written warnings on all advertising and promotional materials, as well as on lottery tickets.

Adverts and tickets would feature the words: “Warning: playing a lottery game constitutes ambling and may lead to addiction and/or compulsive behaviour. The chances of winning a big prize are very low”.

The wording would need to cover at least 10% of the printed advert or ticketing, with the same rule applying to television ads. Radio ads would need to feature the warning in spoken form at the end of the advert.

These measures would come into effect from January 1, 2020, although the rules for tickets would not be fully effective until 12 months later.

Florida becomes the second state this year to consider limiting its lottery ticket sales, with a bill introduced in New Mexico earlier this month proposing similar measures.

H 441 would prevent the New Mexico Lottery from offering any form of mobile gambling or video lottery games, and also stop the Lottery from selling lottery tickets through a self-service device that is part of or shares a display with a retail petrol dispenser or an automated teller machine.

Image: DonkeyHotey