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HB 441 would help to rein in an out-of-control lottery

Stop Predatory Gambling New Mexico strongly supports HB 441 because it protects the original intent of the lottery, and especially because it helps prevent dangerous excesses to the lottery that further exploit our citizens.

David Barden, the CEO of the New Mexico Lottery, in legislative hearings has promoted online lottery and smartphone games. He has also advocated lottery gaming systems, the terminology six states use to enable video lottery terminals – basically stand-alone video slot machines. The lottery has illegally installed “play at the pump” lottery games at over a dozen gas stations after the Legislature turned it down two years in a row. Why does Attorney General Hector Balderas ignore this clear violation of New Mexico law?

In a newspaper article Barden indicated that he feels justified in thwarting the democratic process with “play at the pump” because “lottery players have told us they want more convenient ways to play the lottery.” Even if Barden had a valid scientific poll that showed a majority of the people of New Mexico wanted “play at the pump” – which he doesn’t – bureaucrats have no authority to overturn legislative action and implement policies on their own, regardless of how wonderful they think they are.

This decision reflects the inherent exploitation and dishonesty of the lottery. The lottery is not held to a “duty of care” that any other industry in the state is obligated to uphold. So try suing the state lottery because they exploited you and see how far you get. The lottery is not subject to any truth in advertising laws either, which all other industries are subject to. The state lottery largely operates outside of New Mexico law in the area of consumer protection.

In state after state, including North and South Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Connecticut, Texas, Florida and California, studies by state governments and universities have unequivocally proven the majority of revenue to state lotteries comes from the poor, minorities and the less-educated. State lotteries, including the New Mexico Lottery, are the perfect example of institutionalized unfairness and inequality.

HB 441 will help prevent further exploitation of our citizens by preventing more addictive forms of the lottery. It would outlaw online gambling, any style of video lottery game, any sort of gaming on a mobile phone, any type of sports betting and play at the pump. HB 441 also gives the Legislature the opportunity to show CEO Barden that he doesn’t make the laws in New Mexico.

Stop Predatory Gambling New Mexico encourages legislators to vote “do pass” for HB 441.

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