On Dec. 3, The Ellsworth American featured an editorial titled “A closer look at the lottery.”
I am writing in response to advise your readers that the stories circulated by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting and, unfortunately, cited in this paper’s editorial pages contain misinformation and a number of unsubstantiated conclusions.
Readers of The American should understand that the Maine Lottery does not target its advertising toward poor citizens and lower-income communities. We primarily use television and radio advertising to reach our customers, ensuring that an advertisement heard in Kittery is the same one played over the airwaves in Caribou. Additionally, spending on lottery advertising has remained relatively flat over the last decade despite claims to the contrary.
The lottery operation is open and transparent. A five-member commission, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Maine Legislature, oversees the Maine Lottery. A team of state of Maine employees manages the day-to-day operations of the Lottery, not some faceless multinational corporation.
A $252-million annual operation, the Maine Lottery returned more than $156 million to players during the last year. In addition, $54 million was transferred to the state of Maine’s General Fund to be used by the Maine Legislature to support education, help our neediest of citizens and provide funding for public safety programs, along with many other programs and services offered to the citizens of Maine.
The Maine State Lottery was passed by the Legislature and enacted by the people of Maine in a statewide referendum in 1973 and is one of 45 state-run lotteries across the United States. It is operated with integrity and fairness by a dedicated team of professionals who call this great state home. It always has and always will be a lottery that belongs to the people of Maine.
Maine State Lottery