Lebanon Reporter

State News

June 3, 2014

Lottery director promotes the good in gaming

(Continued)

But that aggressive approach has critics.

At a meeting this week, Taylor, whose role includes overseeing the lottery marketing plan, had to tell GE Tech officials that a proposed game with a bingo theme looked too much like Internet gaming. Gov. Mike Pence, who stopped an expansion of casino gambling in Indiana last year, has made it clear he opposes anything that looks or feels like Internet gaming, Taylor said.

“Our charge is to maximize the revenues the lottery brings in,” she said, “but we have an obligation to do that in a socially responsible way.”

That message appeals to a socially conservative state that reaps millions from the lottery.

“It’s been a huge boon for the state and hasn’t seem to come with any kind of negative social cost,” said Ed Feigenbaum, publisher of Indiana Gaming Insight, who’s chronicled gambling in Indiana since it was legalized.

Taylor intentionally portrays the lottery as a force for good, he said. When talking about how its proceeds are used, for example, she describes the “good causes” that lottery sales support.

And Taylor, along with the state Lottery Commission, are working to counter the image that only losers play the lottery, Feigenbaum said.

In its plan for increasing sales, the commission has committed to curtailing advertising in zip codes where household earnings are less than 60 percent of the statewide median. In February, the Indiana Council on Problem Gaming lauded the commission for its efforts.

Among those who’ve welcomed Taylor’s approach is Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett. He was in the audience for the touring “Hoosier Millionaire” game show at Indiana State University last week.

“I don’t think people realize where the money really goes,” Bennett said. “But I know we couldn’t do without it.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. Reach her at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden.

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