As the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery jackpots each crossed the $400 million threshold, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) urged consumers to protect themselves against excessive gambling, and called upon lotteries and the media to promote responsible gambling messages. Jackpot fever swept the nation.

“There is a lot of consumer and media interest when jackpots for the Mega Millions or Powerball reach eye-popping numbers,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director of NCPG. “The National Council on Problem Gambling believes these high jackpot occasions present an opportunity to publicize clear responsible gambling messages that help people who choose to gamble make informed decisions about how they play.”

Multiple lotteries emphasized the importance of the RG messaging. “Initially we did some advertising awareness campaigns about the dual jackpots primarily in radio, digital online, digital outdoor, in store POS and our website. Once the jackpots began to garner national media attention, our focus shifted from sales to a Play Reponsibly message,” said Teri Wood, VP, Sales & Marketing, Iowa Lottery.

Brittany D’Haenens, Senior Brand Manager, Hoosier Lottery, also echoed the importance of player safety. “Our promotional plans were focused on limiting the impact of in-store traffic during these unprecedented times. We worked to ensure that both responsible play and safety were at the center of every promotional decision,” said D’Haenens.

NCPG provided five simple responsible gambling tips for consumers, urging lotteries and the media to disseminate the recommendations.
“Lotteries should always include responsible gambling messages, such as the minimum age to play or where those who might engage in problem gambling can seek help,” said Whyte. “We think it is very important for the media to amplify those messages, especially when large jackpots create significant consumer interest.”