Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The Israeli National Lottery (Mifal Hapayis) provides a tremendous number of services to the wider community. From Community centres to health clinics; from hospitals to special grants to soldiers, from school programs to funding day care centres for the elderly. Every city has many buildings that are dedicated by the Lottery. (Little Alon Shevut has at least three!)

All well and good. Many Thanks!

And yet, the media is swamped by advertising for the Lottery. Today my six-year-old was singing along: "Lotto, Lotto, Lotto, Mi Haba BaLotto!" as I listened to the enticing radio commercial telling me just how easily one can become a millionaire. (My 3 yr old sings it too!) The orange Payis booths are in every mall and every shopping street. The ads are on the radio and even on National TV which legally has no commercials will broadcast ads for the Lotto.

So where is my point? I think that in a country in which many people are rather impoverished, where gambling and casinos are illegal, I simply do not understand why I am being battered at all times by a slick advertising campaign aimed at getting me to gamble! Is gambling just fine when it goes to charity? No! gambling is a problem because poor people with a miserable present and dreams of a better future squander the money that they do not have and get into debt by risking their money on a whim. That is precisely what happens with Lotto, Totto, Chish-Gad and all the other products. I was in a taxi recently whose driver told me that he spends over 500 shekel weekly on the payis. i have educated friends who are subscribers to the weekly draw of lottto! I simply cannot fathom why we turn a blind eye to this legalised gambling?

And if you say: well it is a mild form, and it does so much public good, then, at least don't advertise it so regularly and so attractively. This hits precisely the poor sectors of the population. I resent the advertsising greatly and I think it should be seriously limited.

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