The N.C. Education Lottery begins a new program today called Play Smart™, becoming the first U.S. lottery to start an original player-focused, lottery-specific responsible gaming and prevention program centered on the education, encouragement and empowerment of lottery players.
“Most people who play the lottery play responsibly and do not develop a problem,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the lottery. “To ensure responsible play continues, we needed a program that not only provides the resources and tools players need to make smart decisions before they play, but also encourages players to adopt behaviors that can reduce the risk of developing a problem.”
Play Smart is like a lottery coach, educating players on how its games work, encouraging sensible and responsible play, and empowering players to recognize when playing the lottery is no longer fun and what to do if that happens. The program features:
• Information to help players understand how odds and probability work and dispelling popular myths about lottery games.
• Tips and tools on how to set up a budget for lottery play and setting time and spending limits when playing lottery games.
• A 10 question quiz designed to help players see how their gaming habits can impact their life.
Michalko said Play Smart is an important addition to the lottery’s overall responsible gaming program because it focuses on education to foster fun and healthy play. He said the program builds on the lottery’s overall responsible gaming program. That program already includes raising awareness of how someone with a gambling problem can get help and free treatment options through the lottery’s $1 million annual contribution to fund the N.C. Problem Gambling Program.
“We want our players to be more informed when they choose to play our games,” said Michalko. “We believe that the more players know about how our games work, the more fun they will have playing responsibly. Looking out after the interest of our players goes hand-in-hand with our mission to raise money for education.”
Play Smart is now featured on the lottery’s website at nclottery.com/PlaySmart. A highlight of the web pages are three videos featuring a Play Smart coach. The lottery is also conducting a TV advertising campaign this month beginning today and will conduct a follow-up campaign in March during National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Play Smart information is also available at point-of-sale in all 7,000 locations where lottery tickets are sold.
The lottery plans to continue to grow the Play Smart program over time, with plans to add more tips and tools, like a spending calculator, to its website. The lottery is also hoping to share the program with other state lotteries so other players outside of North Carolina have access to the same resources.
For details on how lottery funds made a difference in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, click on the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website. Play Smart™ term is a service mark of the Illinois Lottery licensed to the NCEL.