Nudge, in action

Sometimes, governments do not have to be nudged to institute a nudge:

Buy a scratch lottery ticket in Georgia, and you can win music downloads or a seat at an Atlanta Falcons game. In New York, one of the top sellers is an all-black ticket as sleek as an Armani suit. And in Texas, where they brag that everything is bigger, a single ticket goes for $50.

With state budgets in crisis and lottery-financed programs like prekindergarten being considered for cuts, the pressure is on to make lottery tickets more attractive to casual scratchers and people who may have never dropped a dollar on a chance before.

Even at Christmas, which is the busiest season for scratch tickets, no gimmick – peppermint-scented tickets, anyone? – is too ridiculous.

In Louisiana, frequent gamblers are invited to join Club Lotteaux to receive e-mail updates and other promotions, like a chance to name a reindeer and win a package of holiday tickets and a coffee mug.

In Washington State, holiday tickets come with a chance to win a home-theater system. Georgia lottery officials, who sell a $2 ticket with the unlikely combination of a snowman and Betty Boop in a skimpy Santa outfit, are sponsoring “American Idol”-style singing contests.


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