Lottery uses humor to tackle problem gambling

What do a chubby guy in a tank top dancing on a table, a woman eating raw octopus, and a man in a dog suit have to do with problem gambling?

The Ohio Lottery Commission wants to tell you.

The $1.5 million “I Lost a Bet” media campaign, launched statewide this week on television and billboards, uses humor to warn of the dangers of problem gambling.

“It’s the applesauce with the medicine,” said Sandi Lesko Mounts, the lottery’s marketing director.

The 15-second TV ads running in Columbus and other cities lure viewers with a humorous premise: People have to do something silly after losing a bet. A bearded man in a tank top and shorts awkwardly waves rhythmic gymnastic ribbons while dancing on a table in a bar. A woman is forced to eat raw octopus while a friend laughs and taunts her. A man on all fours dressed in a dog suit irritates people in a crowded elevator.

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By Alan Johnson • The Columbus DispatchThursday January 9, 2014