Warning: Gambling could be addictive. That’s the message that could be on Florida lottery tickets if one state representative gets her way.
When it comes to the lottery, Martha Slipecivic likes her scratch offs.
“If I’m going to play its usually one or two,” said Slipcevic “And usually I play 20 or 25 dollars.” For her it's all fun and games, but she knows for others it's a problem. “I know a lot of people who are really addicted to it. They used their rent money, the money to pay their electric bills.”
It’s the harsh reality that one Florida lawmaker wants you to face every time you play.
Similar to what we now see when it comes to cigarettes, the bill would require warning signs about gambling addictions on the lottery ticket itself. It would also require sign at the store where you bought it.
“It’s going to make you think twice,” said Slipcevic.
Some think it will help while others have their doubts.
“It won’t make a difference,” said Bill Sheffield, another lotto player. “Does it stop people from smoking cigarettes?”
“Any awareness is really going to be helpful,” said licensed physiotherapist Jason Ross. He says when it comes to addiction, gambling is almost a separate category. “A gambler kind of looks at something like that and they say what are the odds of this happening to me.”
While Ross says the warning signs may not have a huge impact, he says any awareness will help. “I think it’s worth it because even if it helps just a handful of people, I think it’s a good idea.”
We did reach out to Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, the republican representative who introduced the bill and the Florida Lottery. However, we have not heard back.
While the bill says “all lottery tickets,” it’s not clear whether this will include scratch offs.
If the bill becomes a law it would take effect in January of 2018.