Lottery tickets, and places that sell them, could come with a warning: “Gambling can be addictive,” under a bill approved Tuesday afternoon by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries.

Senate Bill 1370 may go where some Florida lawmakers are uncomfortable to follow, declaring the state’s lottery games to be a form of gambling.

As a result, the bill got a few no votes, including one from Democratic state Sen. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville.

But the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Keith Perry of Gainesville, said he believes the Lottery is gambling and needs the warning; a majority on the committee agreed.

“This bill seeks to better inform individuals that gaming can be addictive,” Perry said.

The bill would require the Florida Lottery Commission to have all vendors and retailers place or print a warning on all lottery tickets, and on prominent signs in retailers which sell them, which read: “WARNING: GAMBLING CAN BE ADDICTIVE.”

The bill does not call for a phone number to also be printed for people to call if they fear they are addicted, but Perry said he would be open to such in an amendment.

Gibson, who asked about that, pressed Perry for what she saw as the heart of the issue, that the bill would have the Florida Legislature declaring that the Lottery is a form of gambling.

“I don’t consider the purchase of those products offered by the lottery to be gambling,” she said. “And I’m not inclined to support these [warning] statements either.”

The companion, House Bill 937, is in the House Commerce Committee.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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