OMAHA and LINCOLN, Neb. (1/25/11)--A bill has been introduced in the Nebraska legislature that would enable credit unions in the state to offer savings promotion raffles or lottery as a measure to help boost state consumers' savings. State Sen. Amanda McGill introduced L.B. 524 on Jan. 18. She and the Nebraska Credit Union League intended for the product to boost savings among all Nebraskans, specifically those who are most financially vulnerable. The bill defines "savings promotion raffle" as "a contest conducted by a credit union chartered under state or federal law or any agent or employee thereof in which a chance of winning a designated prize is obtained by the deposit of a specified amount of money in a savings account or other savings program if each entry has an equal chance of winning." This legislation is important because it encourages and incentivizes Nebraskans to save for their future in a way that is not only fun but builds a habit of savings for those who participate, according to League President/CEO Scott Sullivan. McGill said the average American family spends $540 a year on lottery tickets "when they should arguably be saving some of that money in case of an emergency. Savings raffles are a financially safe way to promote savings among Nebraska families while allowing them a chance to win." If the legislation passes, Nebraska would be the third state to offer the savings promotion raffle. Doorways to Doors, a national non-profit specializing in expanding asset-building opportunities for American families, completed a pilot savings promotion raffle in 2009 in Michigan in which state consumers saved more than $8.5 million through the program. Many had no savings account before the promotion. Participating credit unions offered entries for monthly prizes and a large grand prize each time members deposited $25 to the prize-linked savings account. Prizes are taken from the part of the interest that otherwise would have been earned on the savings accounts.