Mass. Lottery Ads Scratched Again

BOSTON – Lottery advertising won’t be making a comeback in the Bay State this year, despite early indications that new Democratic Treasurer Shannon O’Brien – whose office oversees the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission – was considering a push to reinstate ad spending.
Fiscal year 2000 spending proposals from the state legislature and Gov. Paul Cellucci once again include a mid-six-figure budget for lottery promotions to be used solely for point-of-purchase materials. There’s a chance supplemental proposals may include more money for lottery ads, but sources believe that is unlikely.
“The treasurer didn’t ask for a boost in [the ad] budget,” said deputy treasurer Paul Robson. “She has plenty on her plate,” including continuing scandals involving the alleged theft of lottery funds by state employees.
O’Brien was ultimately dissuaded from fighting for a reinstatement of the ad budget because she concluded Democratic Senate President Thomas Birmingham would strongly oppose such a measure, sources said.
The lottery’s ad budget topped $11.5 million in the early ’90s. Spending was gradually slashed as former Republican Treasurer Joe Malone lost ground in a partisan struggle with Birmingham. ¡