Rep. Will Robinson‘s bill to put warning labels on lottery tickets inched closer to passing the House Tuesday after earning preliminary approval.
The bill would require the Department of the Lottery to tag tickets with “Play Responsibly” labels. Additionally, it would also untie sports gambling from the department and disallow bettors from playing the lottery from electronic devices.
House members did not debate the bill, but Robinson, a Bradenton Republican, maintains Florida’s schools and the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund don’t need to be funded on the backs of those with gambling problems. “Play Responsibly” is already used widely by the lottery, making the change only a statutory one in his eyes.
That label must take up at least 5% of the lottery ticket and promotional material.
The Department of the Lottery estimates that the bill would cost the department $1.4 million for lighted jackpot signs, $266,000 to modify signs and promotional materials at vendor locations and $240,000 to replace billboards. It offered no loss estimate for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, but it predicted a $235 million loss last year.
Additionally, the sports gambling provision would stop the state from theoretically establishing a sanctioned method of betting on games.
“To me, it’s a policy decision as to whether we should expand gambling in Florida,” Williamson told Florida Politics when he filed the bill. “I personally believe we should not.”
There are reasons the state heavily regulates the Lottery, Robinson said. Otherwise, the state could start any number of enterprises from online blackjack to bets on races, all sanctioned and implemented by the state.
While the bill would go into effect in July, the “Play Responsibly” ticket requirement would go into effect in 2022.
The companion bill (SB 1318) by Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry was never slated for a committee meeting.
Florida Politics reporter Jacob Ogles contributed to this report.