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Nevada lawmakers propose lottery to fund education

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Nevada lawmakers propose lottery to fund education

Top Nevada Democratic lawmakers said Friday they're betting the time is right for the nation's No. 1 gambling state to create a lottery to solve what they called a "crisis" in education funding.

"Our classrooms are too large and not enough students have textbooks," said Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson. He and two other elected Democrats called for a "dedicated and directed" funding stream for schools, which tend to perform below the national average in many surveys. Nevada ranks 48th in overall education spending.

The state constitution currently prohibits a state lottery, and Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, acknowledged that lottery proposals have died 26 times in the Legislature since 1970.

The state's powerful gambling interests have discouraged previous proposals for a state lottery, maintaining the state should not compete with its No. 1 industry.

"The government doesn't go into the car business or compete with supermarkets," said Bill Bible, president of the Nevada Resort Association, which represents many of the state's major hotel-casinos.

The association has no position on a lottery, Bible said. But he said many members think that Nevada's reliance on gambling and tourism makes it different from the District of Columbia and 39 states that have lotteries. Democratic officials said 24 of those states dedicate at least some lottery money to schools.

"Other states don't have a gambling establishment that contributes about 50 percent to the state economy," Bible said.

Legislators would have to approve a lottery and voters would have to support the idea twice to change the constitution. Perkins said it could be put before voters in 2008.

"The size of the state ... the perspective in the state ... the state of our educational system makes it the right time," Buckley said.

Buckley pointed to Nevada's below-average rank in 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress comparisons of fourth- and eighth-grader tests. Just 23 percent of Nevada fourth graders and 20 percent of eighth graders were proficient or better in math, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Only 20 percent of fourth graders and 21 percent of eighth graders were proficient or better in reading.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio said in a telephone interview from Reno that he wasn't opposed to a lottery but noted the issue fared poorly in previous legislative sessions.

"We've looked at it in the past and the indication was that it wouldn't produce that much (revenue)," the Republican lawmaker said. "We have a small base for a single-state lottery."

Buckley said Nevada, with nearly 2.3 million people, has grown large enough to support a lottery with attractive cash prizes.

A lottery could raise $30 million to $50 million per year, Perkins said, citing figures from the Legislative Counsel Bureau, the research arm of the Legislature.

"If you put it to a vote, it will overwhelmingly pass," Buckley declared at the news conference at the Clark County School District.

Freshman Democratic state Sen. Steven Horsford said he found "a great appetite for a state lottery" among voters he met campaigning in his Las Vegas-area district.

Perkins said the measure would not compete with a school funding initiative backed by Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons. The Education First initiative would require lawmakers to fund kindergarten through 12th-grade education before other state programs. It passed in November and faces another statewide vote in 2006.

Gibbons spokeswoman Amy Spanbauer said the congressman, who is considering a run for governor in 2006, had no position on a lottery.

But she said "there are certainly enough revenue streams in the state to fund education. Lawmakers just need to make the tough decisions."


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5 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by johnph77.
Page 1 of 1
dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

United States
Member #2338
September 17, 2003
2063 Posts
Posted: January 22, 2005, 1:35 am - IP Logged

This is the last state that I thought would have a lottery. I guess it will be a test to see how powerfull the gaming industry is in modern Nevada. I don't know how many tourists would buy tickets though since they mostly stay around the strip. I really doubt any casino would sell tickets since most casinos make it hard to even find the Megabucks and Megaluck progressive slots.

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    23352 Posts
    Posted: January 22, 2005, 7:52 am - IP Logged

      From the standpoint that the gaming industry would get nervous, I'm surprised they would consider it.  However, I don't think there would be any leeching of gambling revenues from the gaming industry.  Playing the lottery would just be an additional type of bet for regular gamblers, and people who don't live near casinos would have a game to play.

    There's no way that someone who loves to play table games and slots would stop doing that to just play the lottery.  They would do both.  Who knows, maybe they would use their slots winnings to buy lottery tickets?


    Check the State Lottery Report Card
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    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
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      johnph77's avatar - avatar
      United States
      Member #2987
      December 10, 2003
      832 Posts
      Posted: January 22, 2005, 8:40 am - IP Logged

      The only people who need be concerned about this are the people who operate the Nevada Numbers and the Nevada Keno games. Almost all of the remainder of the games are confined to casinos, or, in the case of some Keno games, are electronically transmitted to and from casinos that are under the same ownership. In addition, lotteries just don't have the flash, the atmosphere or the aura of casinos.

      Any state lottery in Nevada would rely mostly on the play of state residents.

      Blessed Saint Leibowitz, keep 'em dreamin' down there..... 

      Next week's convention for Psychics and Prognosticators has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.


        United States
        Member #3676
        February 10, 2004
        425 Posts
        Posted: January 22, 2005, 11:52 am - IP Logged

        Isnt that Nevada numbers game a horrible game to play, does anyone ever wint that? Where can you get stats on that game?

          johnph77's avatar - avatar
          United States
          Member #2987
          December 10, 2003
          832 Posts
          Posted: January 23, 2005, 4:54 am - IP Logged

          From my website:

          Nevada Numbers

          Current as of 14 Aug 03.

          Notes: Minimum bet $2.00. Privately operated. Progressive jackpot starts at $5,000,000, payout totals and percentages based on starting value. Results may be viewed at Bally's Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Flamingo Laughlin, Las Vegas Hilton, Reno Hilton, and Paris Las Vegas.

          Formula for Total Possibilities - ((80!/75!)/(5!)) = 24,040,016.

          5/80FormulaPossibilitiesOdds - 1::PayoutTotal PayoutPayout Pct
          5((5!/0!)/(5!))x((75!/75!)/(0!))124,040,016.005,000,000 +5,000,000 +10.40% +
          Total Winners6,780,6263.55  13,732,750 +28.56% +

          I just received information on the NV Keno game, will be posting soon.



          Blessed Saint Leibowitz, keep 'em dreamin' down there..... 

          Next week's convention for Psychics and Prognosticators has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.