November 30, 2005
State Pushes Big Ape on Hapless Citizenry
Posted by Matt Bodie

This post is more up Christine's alley, but the New York State Lottery has a new game called "King Kong Millions."  Along with being one huge advertisement for the you-can't-escape-it movie, apparently King Kong Millions is "guaranteed to create the most millionaires ever on one drawing."  At a press briefing held at the Empire State Building, the ESB director of public relations said, ""I am very excited to purchase the first ticket sold at the Empire State Building for the King Kong Millions game, which I am doing in Fay Wray's memory."

So who's paying for all those ads on buses, telephone booths, and billboards with the big guy's ugly mug?  The press release notes that the state has "partnered" with Universal Studios on this new game.  But I can't find much about the partnership; the press reports I could find were all puff pieces.  And apparently New York is not alone -- there's this from the Georgia lottery (where they unveiled the world's largest lottery ticket!), and in Virginia, they've introduced the "Apprentice" scratch-off game, which this article describes as having increased scratch-off sales by 15 percent.  ("Want to get hired for your dream job? That won’t happen here, but you could win one of more than $10 million in prizes in this exciting $5 Scratcher.")

Is it just me, or are states wandering into some troubling territory here?  State-sponsored and monopolized gambling makes me uncomfortable enough, although I know it's all for the children.  But now the state is advertising for an upcoming Hollywood thriller?  I wish the details of this partnership were a little more public.  Where's the outrage?  If people can go crazy over a movie promo on first base, shouldn't they be troubled when the government's pushing the promos?

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