HOUSTON (AP) — State lotteries are spending more than a half-billion dollars a year on pervasive marketing campaigns designed to persuade people to play often, spend more and overlook the long odds of winning.

That’s according to a new investigation by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland.

As state agencies, the lotteries are exempt from Federal Trade Commission regulations that prohibit misleading and deceptive advertising.

But that leaves oversight of advertising up to the state legislatures that depend on lottery revenue to help balance their budgets.