Lynn is one of the Massachusetts State Lottery's sales hotspots.
Yet while Lynn residents spend $85 million a year on tickets and games, the old industrial city gets back just $15 million a year from a Lottery-financed state aid program.
State Rep. Steven Walsh (D-Lynn) said it is this imbalance that drove him to file legislation that could revamp the way Lottery proceeds are doled out to cities and towns.
Walsh's bill calls for a commission to explore whether the current formula used to distribute Lottery profits could be altered to give cities like Lynn, with strong ticket sales, a larger piece of the pie.
"How much money a city or town contributes should play a part," Walsh said. "It's a regressive tax that affects the poorest among us. We should at least credit the communities from whence the money comes."
Not alone, Walsh is one of a number of lawmakers from the state's urban centers arguing their cities should get a larger share of Lottery profits.
The Lottery's top five sales locations are Boston at nearly $500 million a year, Worcester at $148 million, Springfield with $102 million in annual sales, Quincy with $101 million and then Lynn, which accounts for $85 million.
Walsh said upscale suburban communities with modest Lottery sales and even towns with no Lottery sales at all still get a piece of the Lottery-financed state aid pie.
Still, other lawmakers are skeptical. State Sen. Michael Morrissey (D-Quincy) argued some of these sales numbers, especially in Boston's case, may be boosted by Lottery tickets that are bought by commuters on their way to and from downtown offices.
"I bought my ticket in the lobby of the office building in Boston," Morrissey said. "How do you tell?"