In one of his final decisions involving the 2019 Legislature, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday vetoed a bill that would have required Florida Lottery tickets to include a prominent warning about the addictive nature of gambling.
The veto was not exactly a surprise, as DeSantis had said he was concerned about the impact of the warning requirement. Former Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a similar bill in 2017, citing its potential impact on education funding.
The Lottery, which sells more than $7 billion in tickets each year, is a major funding source for state education programs, including the popular Bright Futures college scholarships. It provides about $1.8 billion in school funding each year.
In his veto message, DeSantis said the warning requirement would have hindered the Lottery’s ability to develop innovative games, hurt its relationship with retailers who sell the tickets and had “the potential to impact revenues available for educational enhancement.”
He said the Lottery estimated the warning requirement would have reduced education funding between $79.4 million to $233 million a year.
The legislation (HB 629) would have required all Lottery tickets, advertisements and promotions to carry either the message of “WARNING: LOTTERY GAMES MAY BE ADDICTIVE” or “PLAY RESPONSIBLY,” beginning Jan. 1. The warning would have covered at least 10 percent of the ticket’s surface.
Florida would have been the first state lottery in North America to require such a prominent warning, according to lottery industry officials.
The Phoenix previously reported on the details of the legislation in this story.