The New Hamprshire Senate joined Governor John Lynch on Thursday in endorsing a doubling of the top-priced scratch ticket cost.
The bill (SB 20) would raise the lottery ticket cost from $10 to $20.
The Senate passed it, 18-5, after no debate on the subject.
Senate Majority Leader Robert Clegg, R-Hudson, said the Lottery Commission has committed to public service announcements that warn about compulsive gambling.
Nashua Democratic Sen. Joseph Foster voted against the bill, the only one among the eight who represent Greater Nashua communities.
I think there are better ways for the state to raise revenue than gambling, as a general matter, Foster said after the vote.
Im not against the lottery, but I dont think we ought to expand it further.
Lynch already has counted on the higher-priced ticket delivering roughly $5 million to help finance his proposed two-year state budget.
Scratch tickets are by far the biggest money makers for the lottery, generating about two-thirds of its profits that support state aid to education.Lawmakers had approved a $10 ticket in 2000, four years after they raised the top ticket price from $3 to $5 in 1996.
Commission Executive Director Rick Wimsatt said the lottery has to introduce new price points every few years to continually expand the base of revenue from these games.
There are 11 other state lotteries that offer a $20 scratch ticket.
Connecticut and Kentucky state lotteries each sell the most expensive in the United States, a $30 ticket.
There are a lot better bets out there if you did gamble, Foster said.
The lottery gives back in cash prizes 63 percent of what is wagered, according to Wimsatt.
Thats more than the 50 percent return that players get who play the multi-state Powerball and the Megabucks game shared among Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Bill at a Glance
- Bill No.: SB 20
- Sponsor: Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, D-Manchester
- Description: The bill would raise the maximum price of a lottery scratch ticket from $10 to $20
- Status: The Senate approved the bill Thursday on a vote of 18-5
- On the Web: www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ie/billstatus/quickbill.html