Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Lottery Bonuses Generating Debate.(New Mexico & The West)

Byline: Wren Propp Journal Capitol Bureau

* Gambling critic dislikes promotions for program, but national expert says rewarding workers is good business

The state lottery gave its employees more than $160,000 in bonuses this summer. The lottery CEO received a $15,000 raise after four months on the job.

Is this a good way to spend money meant for public schools and college scholarships?

One national expert in gambling says yes.

"I think it is probably a good thing that they do that; they are taking a realistic look at what the state lottery is. It's a retail product," said I. Nelson Rose, a law professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, Calif.

But New Mexico gambling critic Victor Marshall said spending money to promote the state lottery is a fool's game.

"The only justification for the lottery is that there are these idiots who are going to spend the money regardless; these yo-yos are going to buy the stupid tickets whether you advertise or not," Marshall said.

Spending to promote the lottery creates a "socially bad thing," Marshall said.

The New Mexico Lottery's bonus program for salespeople and executives is richer by far than similar lotteries in Arizona, Iowa and Montana.

However, administrative and advertising costs at the state lottery were low compared with costs in those states. …

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