Tower of Babble


Connecticut's busybody attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, is fighting for consumers again, this time by putting the brakes on the state lottery's introduction of a new CD-based interactive instant lottery game.

In Treasure Tower (which would cost 4 bucks—or be given away free with the purchase of $15 worth of instant scratch tickets) players navigate a cartoon character from Babylonia through secret doors in search of prizes. The game lasts 15 or 20 minutes. (Fortunately, time-strapped players can simply scratch off a latex coating to find out for sure whether they are losers.)

So is Blumenthal taking this opportunity to point out that state-run lotteries are a consumer rip off that offer pathetic odds? (Chances of winning the $25,000 grand prize in Treasure Tower are one in 26,000.) Does he want to break the state's monopoly on lotteries, allowing competitors to offer better odds? Is he advising people to gamble at online or land-based casinos, where their chances of winning are higher?

Don't bet on it.

"If we have learned anything from our experience with the tobacco industry it is that Joe Camel was aimed at kids. This use of cartoon characters seems to have the same appeal and pitch to children, which is not only a social policy concern but also a legal one," Blumenthal said. "We are also concerned about the possibility that this game is really a video lottery, which we have concluded might well be prohibited by state law."

Good lookin' out.

NEXT: Welcome, Shoppers

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  1. If any and all cartoon characters are assumed to be aimed at corrupting the tykes, why not censor all that anime porn Pete Townshend keeps accidently coming across? Then we’ll ban that St. Pauli Girl tramp for trying to get the kids liquored up. And, for that matter, all of those drawn characters already on so many lottery tickets.

  2. Let me see if I have this right…the lottery is run by the state. The state gets the proceeds. The odds really suck. The AG has a problem with the odds and the stupid little game. The AG IS the state, basically deciding what is or is not against the law.

    My brain hurts.

  3. I suppose if you make something for adults that might also appeal to kids, you can’t use it to sell anything considered a ‘vice’, first amendment be damned (of course in this instance it isn’t the free market but the state’s own decision to censor itself).

    I always kind of figured gambling was the one vice a parent could engage his child in to teach them about its negative consequences without actually causing significant risk or harm. So you beat your kid a poker, he loses his allowance money that you gave him. Making him smoke the entire pack of cigarettes that you found in his room until he gets sick is a time honored but probably not very sensible punishment (and is probably legally considered child abuse these days). It gets worse if you think about this applied to sex, drugs, and booze. Come to think of it, gambling doesn’t sound so bad by comparison…

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