LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The name of a new Michigan Lottery game where some money goes to help veterans has prompted debate about whether it is misleading.
The game is the Veterans Day 50/50 Raffle and 3 percent of the gross proceeds from the raffle will go to support veterans through the National Guard Association of Michigan, the Detroit Free Pressreported.
To Philip Marshall of Novi, however, the name means half the money should go to support veterans.
“I truly feel that the average person, reading about this new Veterans Day 50/50 raffle, would think that 50 percent of the money would be donated to the veterans,” Marshall said in an email to the Free Press.
“This game may be misleading players into believing more of their money is going to support the cause,” said Marshall, 52, a retiree who is not a veteran.
Jeff Holyfield, a spokesman for the Michigan Lottery, said he doesn’t see a problem with the name. He said it’s called a 50/50 raffle because half of the money taken in goes to the main prize jackpot.
“We have nothing but respect for veterans here at the Michigan Lottery,” he said. “The whole purpose of creating this game … was to provide more resources to help veterans and their families.”
Under state law, net proceeds from lottery games go to the School Aid Fund, Holyfield said. Only through a licensing agreement with the National Guard Association of Michigan was the agency able to devote 3 percent of the gross receipts to a military organization, he said.
A ticket costs $5, with discounts available for purchases of multiple tickets. The main drawing will take place Nov. 12, with the winner getting half of the total money taken in from ticket sales. There also are a series of weekly drawings for $25,000 each.
As of Friday afternoon, the main jackpot was approaching $400,000, meaning the National Guard Association of Michigan would receive close to $24,000 based on receipts to date. After prizes and expenses, the rest of the proceeds go to the School Aid Fund, Holyfield said.
State Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, a U.S. Navy veteran, said the fact only 3 percent of the Veterans Day raffle is going to help veterans is “another smack in the face.” He said veterans are frequently honored through parades and other symbolic gestures, but there’s “always another excuse” when it comes to getting needed help.
“This lottery is more of the same,” he said.