Creative Gambling and Ted Strickland
Per James Nash’s article in The Dispatch today, I give these entrepreneurs an “A” for creativity:
Even as authorities work to shut down computer-based Sweepstakes gambling machines in Ohio, a Florida company is trying to sell Ohio retailers on the concept of scratch-off phone cards that operate on the same principle.
The scratch-off phone cards have cash prizes of up to $7,777 and names such as Deuces Wild. But any resemblance to the Ohio Lottery’s own scratch-off tickets is only skin-deep, according to Odyssey Promotion, the Florida company marketing the new cards.
“We’re a phone-card company,” Odyssey marketing director Sonia Acosta said yesterday.
Purchasers pay $1 for a phone card that gives them a few minutes of phone time as well as a scratch-off game with the possibility of cash prizes. People need not purchase the phone card to play the game; they can send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the company to receive a free card, according to Odyssey.
But Ted Strickland, the gambling-loving Methodist “minister,” is not amused. Here is Strickland’s spokesbabe Amanda Wurst standing up for the state’s monopoly on ripping off poor inner-city blacks or others who can least afford it:
“[T]he description of this product sounds a lot like a scratch-off, and the Ohio Lottery, casinos and charitable gaming are the only legal gambling activities allowed in Ohio,” Wurst said. “If this is a violation of the law, the governor would want the proper authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter.”
If gambling isn’t really about funneling political contributions and increasing the Redfern family’s net worth, and is instead about job creation and economic activity, shouldn’t Gov. Strickland support these Ohio retailers and endorse a change in state law?