Holt (left). Harris (right). A 'Biscuits and Gravy' game ticket from the Tennessee Lottery (below).
Tennessee state Rep. Andy Holt, a Republican, filed legislation Thursday targeting the “predatory marketing tactics” found in Tennessee Lottery commercials and the bill will be carried in the Senate by Memphis Democrat Lee Harris.
Holt, of Dresden, criticized the commercials last month. He said three television commercial seemed to suggest Tennesseans should buy lottery tickets instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, feeding themselves, or saving for a child’s education.
He threatened action against the lottery at the time. Apparently, lottery officials never responded and, apparently, Holt got tired of waiting.
“I have, very publicly, asked the Tennessee Lottery to ensure me (and the countless Tennesseans who are upset over these practices) that they would no longer run these types of ads,” Holt said in a Wednesday news statement. “When the media asked them for comment, they had nothing to say, and they've said nothing to me. So, now we're introducing bi-partisan legislation to put an end to these damaging ads."
That legislation will set up an independent commission to vet all lottery ads. As of now, that commission would include “a marketing consultant, pastor, financial adviser, and an addiction counselor.” That group would ensure the ads would not encourage players to buy tickets “over the purchase of life-sustaining goods/services; and must not market the lottery as a potential means to provide for financial wellbeing.” Holt said the group would be funded by lottery revenues.