By Oregon Tax News,
The Oregon Lottery is changing. The Lottery once pledged not to run video poker ads yet recently they began airing TV commercials promoting video poker to try and stem a 22% decline in sales. Interestingly, video poker was not part of the original Lottery plan. It was added in 1992 to pick up declining revenue of the entire Lottery system. The video slot machines were added in 2005 to help solve the revenue decline problem as well. The revenue decline was blamed on businesses and the state came and changed their contracts to take a bigger share. Another culprit blamed for lagging revenue, outside of the recession, has been the smoking ban — something that was not supposed to happen.
The recent video poker commercials has raised generated controversy and multiple headlines. The Oregonian gave a strong editorial and ended by saying this ” Getting rid of the lottery? No one is seriously considering that option, not at this terrible time in the state’s budgetary history. Still, it’s imperative for the Legislature to revisit, rethink and recalibrate the darkest bargain our state has ever struck. Because it’s actually darker even than most Oregonians realized.”
The Oregon Lottery may be heading into a clash between the public, media and lawmakers if such expansions in activities and reductions in revenue continues.