Lottery Chief Seeks Sales Boost

Increased Ad Spending To Be ‘put On The Table’
BOSTON–Incoming state treasurer Shannon O’Brien may try to restore the advertising budget at the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission.
Reviving lottery ads “is something I need to put on the table,” O’Brien said last week. “My job is to maximize lottery revenues,” and if advertising will boost sales, restoring the media budget could become a reality, said O’Brien, whose office oversees the Lottery Commission.
At its peak in the early 1990s, the lottery’s ad budget topped $11.5 million. Spending was gradually slashed as outgoing Republican Treasurer Joe Malone repeatedly lost ground in a partisan struggle with Democratic Senate President Thomas Birmingham. The budget currently stands at $400,000 for point-of-purchase promotions, which are created in-house.
Lottery revenues have been flat but funds available for use by cities and towns actually rose 7.4 percent this year to $774 million, according to Lottery Commission figures.
That increase was achieved largely through “management efficiencies” that is, a round of layoffs at commission headquarters–and is unlikely to be repeated, said a Malone spokesperson.
A desire to boost revenues, coupled with the fact that O’Brien and Birmingham are in the same party, bode well for a restoration of advertising funds, sources said.
Should a restoration be approved by the legislature, the Lottery Commission would then issue a request for proposals. However, O’Brien cautioned, “I haven’t talked to Tom Birmingham yet,” nor has she made “a full assessment of trends” in ticket sales, which will dictate the steps she takes when she assumes office in January.