Spain’s State Lottery faces Backlash after Teen wins €200k Jackpot

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The state-run lottery in Spain is facing intense backlash after a 15-year old teenager was revealed as the winner of the €200k jackpot. Cosmin Rotariu, the 15-year old student from Barcelona, was revealed as the lottery this weekend by the Spanish news outlets. The boy held the jackpot ticket in the recently conducted El Niño lottery. The boy informed the news reporters that he bought the €200k lottery ticket for €20 which he won in the El Gordo Lottery right before Christmas.

The main problem here is that the state-run lotteries and the Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado or SELAE requires all the participating lottery players to be 18 years old or older. While Cosmin claims that the ticket was purchased with the permission of his father Valeriu, this doesn’t explain why the lottery ticket seller and SELAE chose to sell tickets to a minor. Almost all of the groups representing the gambling sector in Spain, who themselves have faced heat for luring underage gamblers now want the government to find the person responsible and be accountable for this entire public relations mess.

The government in the country is considering passing legislations that would severely curtail the marketing freedom of private gambling operators. This will put the gambling sector in the same level of restrictions faced by the tobacco industry. The government is still not sure if these newly proposed regulations should be applied to state-run lotteries like SELAE, since they engage in transparent marketing campaigns and even sponsor sports events. SELAE and most state-run lotteries do not engage in any kind of unethical or even experimental marketing tactics to lure people and this current mess simply looks like an error. Last year in June, the digital channels and website owned by the SELAE surpassed one million registered users. The net online sales crossed €136 million in 2017 which almost a 17% increase from 2016.

CEJUEGO, which is the industry association representing the private gambling sector has issued a formal statement saying that they would reserve their harsh criticisms and comments for later when they actually meet the officers from the Ministry of Finance. They have heavily criticized the government’s failure to follow up policies and protocols regarding minors. The body has also criticized the nature of media coverage and the attitude that has been portrayed by the winner, saying this will prompt other kids to follow in his path.


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