New Hampshire’s Fine With The Lottery, Just Not Profanity

No profanity street sign

New Hampshire has always been a relatively progressive state when it comes to the lottery.

In fact, it was the first state in the US to start running a legal lottery back in 1964. Some 53 years later, in 2017, New Hampshire joined Pennsylvania in becoming two of just a handful of states to pass legislation authorizing online lottery sales.

Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, and Kentucky already sell online lottery tickets. Pennsylvania released regulations for its online lottery program this week and sales are expected to launch soon. A timetable for launch in New Hampshire has not yet been released. But the law is in place.

Ad campaign dropped

However, when the state’s online lottery sales program eventually does launch, it will do so with the New Hampshire Lottery Commission‘s otherwise successful “Luck Yeah!” ad campaign.

It was dropped at the end of March. They did that after complaints it sounded a bit too much like a popular but profane phrase. Apparently, it’s OK to be progressive about the lottery. Just not in the language one uses advertising said lottery.

At least according to Republican Executive Councilor Russell Prescott, who apparently led the charge against the ad campaign.

New Hampshire Lottery’s Executive Director Charlie McIntyre did his best to defended the ads. However, Prescott could not be moved. McIntyre claimed luck is an inherent part of the lottery business. Plus, while the pun may have been insensitive to those overly sensitive regarding profanity, it was effective.

McIntyre said lottery revenues were in decline for five years when he took over in 2010. In response to complaints by Prescott at a meeting of the Governor and Executive Council, he noted that it has grown more than the rest of New England’s other lotteries combined since then.

The numbers went up because they followed McIntyre’s lead. Not because they took the advice of an aging career politician afraid of what an otherwise amusing ad tagline that happens to rhyme with something considered to be profanity says about morality in the great state of New Hampshire.

Yet still, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission decided to back Prescott on this one. They listened to his concerns and chose to re-purpose the ads with an updated tagline of “Win-Time.”

Online gambling could be a game changer

A phrase that is neither profane nor anywhere near as funny. But, it’s just neutral enough to have zero impact on lottery sales across the state.

Although, it will probably be remembered as the phrase that sets New Hampshire’s reputation as a progressive state when it comes to the lottery back 53 years.

Of course, if lawmakers find a way to go to the next level and pass online gambling legislation, all will be forgiven. That would allow the lottery or some other qualified entity to offer casino-style games on the internet inside state lines. It would also give New Hampshire its progressive reputation back for good.

New Hampshire did have a placeholder bill seeking to legalize online gambling up for consideration during an Executive Session last year.

The bill was found “inexpedient to legislate” by a unanimous 23-0 vote. That’d a fancy way of saying it put an end to New Hampshire’s online gambling hopes in 2017.

The state probably wants to get online lottery going before it starts kicking the tires on online gambling again.

However, if an ad that sounds like something profane is too much for the delicate moral sensibilities of members of the Executive Council, it’s hard to imagine online gambling ever getting a fair shake in the Granite State.

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Martin Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.