Lottery ads during the Super Bowl
Our friend(s) over at O'Malleywatch posted today with a critique of the Maryland lottery ads that ran during the Superbowl last night. Not only is he/she questioning the state's decision to buy such pricey airtime but also the decision to pitch the lottery as a way to turn your life around:
Martin O’Malley talks about check cashing schemes stealing from the poor, or Wells Fargo targeting homeowners but makes no mention of the advertising campaign of the Maryland lottery that is targeting the poorest among us.
I’m all for people making their own choices and being responsible for the decisions that we make, but this commercial made it seem like the only way someone can get ahead is by winning the lottery. It’s one thing for private companies to be deceptive, but for the government to do so is another thing entirely.
That's certainly an interesting point, given that O'Malley has expressed some real qualms about the idea that gambling proceeds should fund state government. (Recall the reference from mayor O'Malley to slots as "a pretty morally bankrupt" way to fund education.) There has always been controversy about the extent to which state-sponsored gambling is really a tax on the poor, and last year, majorities of the General Assembly and the public voted to accept slots notwithstanding. But does the current economic climate put that decision in a different light?