Sam Stubbs writes:
The Canadian province of Alberta is already doing this to boost its already high vaccination rate. So are the American states of California, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon and Arkansas. All are offering financial incentives to get vaccinated. In Alberta it’s $100, and in New York it’s a scratch lottery ticket which pays anything from $20 to $5 million.
Logic says this would work in New Zealand too. Kiwis love gambling, with Lotto especially popular. The biggest ever Lotto Powerball draw, in 2020, had a $50m prize pool and sold 2.5 million tickets. So a $100m Lotto prize maybe be just the thing to get our jab rates up to the levels required.
Instead of getting a Covid sticker, you’d be given a Lotto ticket post jab, in the waiting room, before you left your appointment. How exciting would that be, daydreaming about winning the lottery? It’s better than shuffling out the door with a sore arm, and might be the extra incentive many need.
And everyone would get two bites at the cherry – a ticket for each jab. And those who have already been vaccinated could have their health numbers pulled from a database and issued online tickets.
Imagine the marketing opportunity. I would back the Lotto team to know how to get people motivated and spreading the word. They motivated 2.5 million people to spend their own money on tickets last year, and that was with a prize pool of $50m. A $100m pool, with free tickets for the vaccinated, could do even better.
Is a $100m nudge too costly? No. It’s only half a day of subsidies under level 4.
There are other side benefits too. TVNZ would probably have the biggest ratings ever for the draw, with huge advertising revenues. And charities benefit from Lotto, too.
This is a great idea. Only change I would make is do say 10 draws of $10 million. $10 million is enough to be life changing (or at least to buy a semi decent house in Auckland). Having say ten draws over the next ten weeks should get that vaccination rate way up.