Children used in lottery commercials


It's lights, camera, action at Fayetteville State University's Early Childhood Learning Center.

A production crew spent Tuesday taping a TV commercial for the state lottery. Tom Shaeen, lottery director, says Fayetteville is the right place to make a commercial showing how lottery money is used. The commercials are what is known in the TV business as POPs or proof of performance.

"We get a lot of lot of questions about where is the money going," Shaheen said. "These are real life situations. When we go to the elementary school and the high school... those are going to be real life situations where money is coming into play at those schools."

Shaheen is talking about Stoney Point Elementary School where lottery money was used to build a new wing. Scholarships were also awarded at Jack Britt High School using lottery funds.

State Senator Larry Shaw is outraged that children are being used in the commercials.

"The basic underline problem is using children to promote the sale of gambling," Senator Shaw said. "We wouldn't use kids to sell alcohol in commercials, so why should we use them in gambling?"

Lottery officials say it is not about exploiting children.

"The children are basically in the background," Shaheen said. "The commercial is basically explaining to the public how this money is being used."

The Senator says he's not buying that explanation.

"Well, show an empty building then," Shaw said. "Don't use children. You're trying to send a subliminal message by showing pictures of children to get people to go our and buy lottery tickets. This is what you go out and buy tickets. This is what your money goes for."

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