No Blackjack for Babies


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Last week, Gov. Spitzer unveiled a new plan to stop kids from gambling, and teamed up with the New York State Lottery and the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to promote it. Basically, the strategy aims public-service announcements at adolescents, to be paid for with a $500 million grant from the State Lottery.


Coming from the Lottery, the plan might seem a little hypocritical, sort of like Budweiser’s “[Beerresponsible]” campaign to encourage moderate drinking. I live in the hood, and it’s always a little depressing to see poor people spending 10 or 20 bucks on Mega Millions or Quickdraw.


But hopefully this will work towards keeping kids from gambling before they even have a chance to understand how idiotic it is. Yeah, it’s a big problem; a Times story from earlier this month described the case of 19-year-old Andrew Hallett, who was [caught forging his father’s checks](http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/nyregion/01gamble.html?ex=1180584000&en=6b66e21bab0e6424&ei=5070 ) so that he could play bingo and the lottery. The case was in Amherst, NY, a suburb of Buffalo that has started the nation’s first gambling court to deal with crimes related to that specific addiction.


Of course, for some people there’s probably no hope. Somehow, enough folks were conned into buying Gail Howard’s [Lottery Master Guide](: http://www.smartluck.com/lmg.htm) that it’s the No. 1 lottery book sold on Amazon.com. The associated website is a collection of strategy teasers from the book and testimonials from satisfied readers, like “Your system was a godsend, as I had open heart surgery and [was] forced on disability retirement, then came my $159,462 lottery windfall only 30 days later. God Bless You!” Wow. Looks like the anti-gambling program has a lot of work to do.


Photo courtesy of [Sleestack66 on Flickr]


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