By Rep. ANDY HOLT
By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard and the Tennessee Lottery commercials constantly piercing our eyes and ears on television and radio.
These commercials, which are targeted to Tennessee’s most economically disadvantaged, are increasingly predatory, disgusting, and out of hand.
One such commercial features a husband and wife who could not afford to buy Christmas presents for one another. However, her husband reveals he got her a gift anyways. The gift in question? A lottery ticket. And it just so happens to be a winning one. With odds far exceeding one in ten million, what a surprise… Their plans for the winning lottery ticket? A college fund for their unborn baby whose nursery they were supposed to building with their Christmas money. Selling this type of false hope to people who cannot even afford to buy Christmas presents and plan a nursery for their unborn child at the same time is appalling.
Another commercial features a hungry man who visits a gas station to purchase some biscuits and gravy. The clerk tells him he should put back the food and buy a “biscuits and gravy” lottery game ticket instead. The man argues back telling the clerk how hungry he is and would rather just eat. Then, the clerk convinces him to buy the ticket instead of eating because once he wins, he’ll be able to buy all the biscuits and gravy he wants. Clearly, the Tennessee Lottery thinks it’s appropriate to send a message to people who do not have enough disposable income to buy a $2 lottery ticket and a $2 serving of biscuits and gravy at the same time without having to sacrifice that they should just go with the lottery ticket instead of feeding themselves.
In addition, another commercial features Christmas scenery and music while encouraging people to purchase lottery tickets to fill their Christmas stockings with. Yes, let’s encourage people to sin and practice addictive behaviors that have ruined countless families. What a perfect way to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
Tennessee’s government protected lottery is telling people who can’t afford Christmas presents and a growing family to just buy lottery tickets instead of exchanging gifts, encouraging these same cash strapped families to buy a “biscuits and gravy” lottery ticket rather than actually feed themselves because, hey, once they’re magically rich they’ll be able to feed their families, and using our Savior, Jesus Christ, as a marketing gimmick to encourage them to sin and practice addictive behaviors. If you cannot sell a product without encouraging people so sin, go hungry and skip Christmas, then you clearly have a bad product on your hands. If a private business not protected by government were utilizing these practices, I have no doubt that the heavy hand of government would come crashing down. What makes government think it is exempt? If it doesn’t immediately stop, there will be legislation to put an end to it. Mark my words.
Andy Holt is the Republican State Representative from Weakley, as well as, parts of Carroll and Obion counties.