State lottery officials want to start advertising lottery tickets in Spanish.
There's a catch. The 2005 law that created the lottery states, "No advertising may intentionally target specific groups or economic classes."
So that leaves lottery officials trying to figure out how to market to Hispanics without targeting a specific group. Advertising has always been a sensitive issue for the lottery since critics don't want government encouraging people to gamble.
The lottery was created to raise money for education programs and Executive Director Tom Shaheen said there is a large untapped market. Out of 5,900 retailers, lottery officials figure that nearly 200 have a customer base in which at least half don't speak English.
So, Shaheen told lottery commission members Wednesday, he'd like permission to work up Spanish radio and print ads within the law.
"Thanks for throwing us into that briar patch," Commission chairman John McArthur joked.
The ads would not necessarily be translations of the English language ads already running. The lottery's marketing staff would ensure they are culturally relevant.
"I strongly feel it's an opportunity to for us," said Commission member Bridget-Anne Hampden. "It's recognizing the diversity of our state."
The commission told lottery staff to come back with a proposal on how they would propose to legally advertise in Spanish.