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Lottery director: Ending advertising would choke off game

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Requiring North Dakota's lottery to stop advertising would cause the game's revenues to wither and retailers to quit selling tickets, the state lottery director predicts.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Requiring North Dakota's lottery to stop advertising would cause the game's revenues to wither and retailers to quit selling tickets, the state lottery director predicts.

"We need to market, advertise and promote our products just as much as other businesses need to market and promote their products, whether it's McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, the charitable bingo halls, or tribal casinos," Chuck Keller told the North Dakota Senate's Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Sen. John Andrist, R-Crosby, a longtime lottery foe, has introduced legislation that would prevent the lottery from advertising the game on television, radio, newspaper or in the stores where tickets are sold.

Keller said the lottery spent more than $300,000 in advertising during its last complete budget year. He predicted Monday if the lottery cannot advertise, it would lose about $5 million in profits every two years, and 125 retailers would quit selling tickets.

Andrew Varvel, of Bismarck, said lottery advertising presents a poor image of North Dakota. The lottery's current ad campaign, which features a woman called "Lady Luck," uses phrases that hint at prostitution, Varvel said.

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"We need to consider very carefully what kind of moral posture our state has," Varvel said. "What does our state truly stand for?"

The committee will make a recommendation on the bill later, followed by a vote on the Senate floor.

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The bill is SB2344.

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