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Some Baptists want Texas Lottery Commission shut down

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Some Baptists want Texas Lottery Commission shut down
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AUSTIN, Tx. — As lawmakers look at whether the Texas Lottery Commission is operating effectively, influential Baptists are suggesting the lottery shouldn't merely be tweaked. They want it abolished.

"Ask the pertinent questions. Has the lottery fulfilled its promise? My answer would be 'no,'" said Suzii Paynter, director of the Baptist Christian Life Commission, in an interview Friday.

Baptists contend the lottery was sold to Texans 20 years ago as a "voluntary, non-regressive" way to raise money, but instead it preys on the poor and caters to impulse purchases of scratch-off tickets. Attempts to bring in higher-income players with $50 scratch-off tickets haven't worked, they say.

They question whether the lottery has provided a real revenue increase for public education or has simply replaced other revenue sources.

About $1 billion a year from the lottery goes into a public education fund, after prize money, retail commissions and other expenses. Ticket sales in fiscal year 2011 totaled $3.8 billion, most of it coming from scratch-off tickets.

This year lottery sales are running 10 percent ahead of last year and are on track to surpass $4 billion for the year, Gary Grief, the lottery's executive director, told legislators earlier this month. Among top-grossing lotteries in the nation, Texas ranks fourth behind New York, Massachusetts and Florida.

The Texas Lottery Commission is one of several state agencies before the Sunset Advisory Commission, a panel of lawmakers and residents that recommends whether and how to keep an agency running. The full Legislature will make final decisions in 2013.

Although there may be bills next session proposing to do away with the lottery, state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, the Sunset Commission chairman, warned in a recent public hearing that that isn't the issue his panel is taking up.

"It's our job to make sure agencies are doing their jobs effectively with what they've been tasked to do," he said. "Don't expect that we're going to put a poison pill in the sunset bill to end the lottery."

Sunset Commission staffers recommend continuing the 309-employee Lottery Commission for 12 more years, but with changes. Among the proposals are requiring lottery commissioners to approve major contracts, rather than placing the responsibility solely with the agency's executive director; expanding the commission's governing body from three to five members; and requiring the lottery to develop a comprehensive business plan.

Grief said the Lottery Commission embraces the recommendations.

Rob Kohler, a consultant for the Christian Life Commission, which is part of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said the group's request to end the agency is not far-fetched. He noted that legislators a few years ago abolished the controversial Texas Residential Construction Commission.

Legislators have made heavy cuts to many areas of state government, and the lottery should be under consideration for elimination as well, Paynter said.

"I don't think it's unrealistic to talk about it going away," she said. "Things outlive their usefulness, as they say."

Paynter also wants legislators to examine whether there is enough public accessibility to the commission and sufficient competitiveness in awarding contracts.

Three companies made proposals for the most recent lottery operations contract, valued at $747 million over nine years. It was awarded to the incumbent contract holder, Gtech Corp.

Abilene Reporter-News

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43 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by rdgrnr.
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United States
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February 1, 2012
890 Posts
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Posted: April 17, 2012, 7:30 am - IP Logged

As lawmakers look at whether the Texas Lottery Commission is operating effectively, influential Baptists are suggesting the lottery shouldn't merely be tweaked. They want it abolished.

"Ask the pertinent questions. Has the lottery fulfilled its promise? My answer would be 'no,'" said Suzii Paynter, director of the Baptist Christian Life Commission, in an interview Friday.

Baptists contend the lottery was sold to Texans 20 years ago as a "voluntary, non-regressive" way to raise money, but instead it preys on the poor and caters to impulse purchases of scratch-off tickets. Attempts to bring in higher-income players with $50 scratch-off tickets haven't worked, they say.

They question whether the lottery has provided a real revenue increase for public education or has simply replaced other revenue sources.

About $1 billion a year from the lottery goes into a public education fund, after prize money, retail commissions and other expenses. Ticket sales in fiscal year 2011 totaled $3.8 billion, most of it coming from scratch-off tickets.

This year lottery sales are running 10 percent ahead of last year and are on track to surpass $4 billion for the year, Gary Grief, the lottery's executive director, told legislators earlier this month. Among top-grossing lotteries in the nation, Texas ranks fourth behind New York, Massachusetts and Florida.

The Texas Lottery Commission is one of several state agencies before the Sunset Advisory Commission, a panel of lawmakers and residents that recommends whether and how to keep an agency running. The full Legislature will make final decisions in 2013.

Although there may be bills next session proposing to do away with the lottery, state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, the Sunset Commission chairman, warned in a recent public hearing that that isn't the issue his panel is taking up.

"It's our job to make sure agencies are doing their jobs effectively with what they've been tasked to do," he said. "Don't expect that we're going to put a poison pill in the sunset bill to end the lottery."

Sunset Commission staffers recommend continuing the 309-employee Lottery Commission for 12 more years, but with changes. Among the proposals are requiring lottery commissioners to approve major contracts, rather than placing the responsibility solely with the agency's executive director; expanding the commission's governing body from three to five members; and requiring the lottery to develop a comprehensive business plan.

Grief said the Lottery Commission embraces the recommendations.

Rob Kohler, a consultant for the Christian Life Commission, which is part of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said the group's request to end the agency is not far-fetched. He noted that legislators a few years ago abolished the controversial Texas Residential Construction Commission.

Legislators have made heavy cuts to many areas of state government, and the lottery should be under consideration for elimination as well, Paynter said.

"I don't think it's unrealistic to talk about it going away," she said. "Things outlive their usefulness, as they say."

Paynter also wants legislators to examine whether there is enough public accessibility to the commission and sufficient competitiveness in awarding contracts.

Three companies made proposals for the most recent lottery operations contract, valued at $747 million over nine years. It was awarded to the incumbent contract holder, Gtech Corp.

It's not the lottery that is keeping Americans down, it's the slave wages that we are paid.

    Lucky Loser's avatar - bucks
    Texas
    United States
    Member #86154
    January 30, 2010
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    Posted: April 17, 2012, 7:45 am - IP Logged

    In all honesty, Texas does need to increase the odds, and, the amount of wins on scratch-offs. When I look around at other smaller states which seem to have many more frequent winners, I get upset with Texas because we're the largest state and should be doing it much bigger with our own people.


    L.L.

      brittkimsdad's avatar - horseshoe

      United States
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      March 20, 2012
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      Posted: April 17, 2012, 8:00 am - IP Logged

      "Baptists contend the lottery was sold to Texans 20 years ago as a "voluntary, non-regressive" way to raise money, but instead it preys on the poor and caters to impulse purchases ...."

      Gotta love those hypocrites ...  yeah, try not paying your tithings in the Baptist Church and you'll see who preys on who.  When the Baptist Church opens up their financial books for all to see, then I'll consider their commentary as credible, otherwise, stop trying to legislate YOUR morality onto others.  If you don't want to gamble or play the games, then don't. 

      However, I do agree with an earlier post recommending better odds.  If you spread some more of the wealth around, you are sure to get more people playing, thus raising profits.

        dopey7719's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
        Midlands, SC
        United States
        Member #69698
        January 14, 2009
        303 Posts
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        Posted: April 17, 2012, 8:27 am - IP Logged

        "Baptists contend the lottery was sold to Texans 20 years ago as a "voluntary, non-regressive" way to raise money, but instead it preys on the poor and caters to impulse purchases ...."

        Gotta love those hypocrites ...  yeah, try not paying your tithings in the Baptist Church and you'll see who preys on who.  When the Baptist Church opens up their financial books for all to see, then I'll consider their commentary as credible, otherwise, stop trying to legislate YOUR morality onto others.  If you don't want to gamble or play the games, then don't. 

        However, I do agree with an earlier post recommending better odds.  If you spread some more of the wealth around, you are sure to get more people playing, thus raising profits.

        I Agree!

         

        I stopped going to churches years ago because the various one's I attended all focused primarily on one thing...giving money to the church.  So then I started watching the line up on TV...they preach really good, get me all excited and then the sermon ends and the commercials begin...send some money and we will give you our new CD or DVD or book or holy water or prayer cloth or some other mess.  The only one's that seem sincere are the Jehovah Witnesses that go around the neighborhood....they have never asked me for money....and neither have the Mormons.   There is no point to this rant.  Sorry!  LOL

          Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
          S.E.Iowa
          United States
          Member #120504
          December 21, 2011
          534 Posts
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          Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:12 am - IP Logged

          I Agree!

           

          I stopped going to churches years ago because the various one's I attended all focused primarily on one thing...giving money to the church.  So then I started watching the line up on TV...they preach really good, get me all excited and then the sermon ends and the commercials begin...send some money and we will give you our new CD or DVD or book or holy water or prayer cloth or some other mess.  The only one's that seem sincere are the Jehovah Witnesses that go around the neighborhood....they have never asked me for money....and neither have the Mormons.   There is no point to this rant.  Sorry!  LOL

          If you invited the Jehova Witnesses into your home the reason they didn't ask for money was because they were in shock..nobody ever invited them in before and they were at a loss for words.

          When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

          There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

            hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

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            Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:29 am - IP Logged

            95% of all evil in the world is  in the name religious beliefs

              dpoly1's avatar - driver
              PA
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              Posted: April 17, 2012, 10:42 am - IP Logged

              95% of all evil in the world is  in the name religious beliefs

              Agree with stupid Hitler, Mao & Stalin were not religious ............ Progressives are the most evil!

              dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

               

              Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                Avatar
                New Member
                Arlington, TX
                United States
                Member #121691
                January 15, 2012
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                Posted: April 17, 2012, 10:57 am - IP Logged

                The Baptists want alcohol abolished also.

                Apparently, it chaps their hide to know how much people are spending on lotto, rather than GIVING it to THEIR churches.

                As far as "preys on the poor and caters impulse buys with scratch offs"..... See, I find this insulting because I cant say that ive EVER bought something that I didnt want. If a clerk asks " do you have your ticket? The Lotto is worth a quarter billion?" If I dont want one, I say no. duh.

                Why why WHY!?!?!? Why do groups want to take things away? Gambling is illegal here in Texas already. The Lottery is the obvious exception.

                  dpoly1's avatar - driver
                  PA
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                  October 16, 2008
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                  Posted: April 17, 2012, 11:13 am - IP Logged

                  The Baptists want alcohol abolished also.

                  Apparently, it chaps their hide to know how much people are spending on lotto, rather than GIVING it to THEIR churches.

                  As far as "preys on the poor and caters impulse buys with scratch offs"..... See, I find this insulting because I cant say that ive EVER bought something that I didnt want. If a clerk asks " do you have your ticket? The Lotto is worth a quarter billion?" If I dont want one, I say no. duh.

                  Why why WHY!?!?!? Why do groups want to take things away? Gambling is illegal here in Texas already. The Lottery is the obvious exception.

                  Just because they are expressing their religious beliefs, doesn't mean that these things will happen!

                  I am not sure why people get so upset with Baptists expressing Baptist Beliefs!

                  I guess that Baptists are OK with some people as long as the Baptists don't act like Baptists ...........

                  As far as Alcohol is concerned, I do believe that many more people are killed by drunk drivers, than are killed by Baptists .............. just a guess ...............

                  If like Alcohol, don't impose YOUR beliefs on Baptists by getting drunk outa your skull, ramming your car into theirs and killing them!

                  dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

                   

                  Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                    Boney526's avatar - NjlpLogo
                    New Jersey
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                    October 18, 2010
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                    Posted: April 17, 2012, 12:19 pm - IP Logged

                    dpoly1, I believe your logic is flawed.

                    I don't think most people have a problem with them expressing their views, but dissent because the Baptists very readily attempt to use the arm of government to impose their values on other people.  Drunk Driving is already illegal, and so as far as alcohol is concerned, an attempt to ban it (which was already done) would be going too far, and is an imposition of force (by the government).

                    Not to say that a drunk driver killing isn't an imposition of force, but an irresponsible citizen can be put on trial, while the government imposing force can't, so we must be careful what regulations we have on people's lives.

                     


                    There are other arguements for abolishing State Lotteries that I could get on board with, but those mainly have to do with private markets taking over.  And besides that, I do believe that a voluntary form of revenue for the government is preferable to taxation, which is done through the use of force, so I don't feel as strongly about the Lottery's being privatized as other government agencies and programs.

                     

                    And while I'll agree that some of the worst people in the world were aetheists (more specifically, Communists or Fascists - and as an extension, aethiests) that doesn't mean that a lot of bad doesn't come from religious notjubs.  Bad people are bad people, "religious" or not.  You can't discount that, because most of the world's terrorists are religious exetremists.  Most good people who are religious do a lot of good, and most good people who aren't do nearly just as much.  Hell even "doing good" is relative to your own values.  It just depends on the individual.

                    Anyone who says most of the world's problems are caused by religion is ignoring lots of problems.  And anyone who says that most of the world's problems are caused by aetheists would also be wrong.

                      dpoly1's avatar - driver
                      PA
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                      October 16, 2008
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                      Posted: April 17, 2012, 2:18 pm - IP Logged

                      dpoly1, I believe your logic is flawed.

                      I don't think most people have a problem with them expressing their views, but dissent because the Baptists very readily attempt to use the arm of government to impose their values on other people.  Drunk Driving is already illegal, and so as far as alcohol is concerned, an attempt to ban it (which was already done) would be going too far, and is an imposition of force (by the government).

                      Not to say that a drunk driver killing isn't an imposition of force, but an irresponsible citizen can be put on trial, while the government imposing force can't, so we must be careful what regulations we have on people's lives.

                       


                      There are other arguements for abolishing State Lotteries that I could get on board with, but those mainly have to do with private markets taking over.  And besides that, I do believe that a voluntary form of revenue for the government is preferable to taxation, which is done through the use of force, so I don't feel as strongly about the Lottery's being privatized as other government agencies and programs.

                       

                      And while I'll agree that some of the worst people in the world were aetheists (more specifically, Communists or Fascists - and as an extension, aethiests) that doesn't mean that a lot of bad doesn't come from religious notjubs.  Bad people are bad people, "religious" or not.  You can't discount that, because most of the world's terrorists are religious exetremists.  Most good people who are religious do a lot of good, and most good people who aren't do nearly just as much.  Hell even "doing good" is relative to your own values.  It just depends on the individual.

                      Anyone who says most of the world's problems are caused by religion is ignoring lots of problems.  And anyone who says that most of the world's problems are caused by aetheists would also be wrong.

                      Thumbs Up

                      Thank you for your most thoughtful and respectful response!

                      This is the kind of respectful and stimulating dialogue that is lacking today! Instead of attacking me, you rebut my assertions respectfully. I am impressed!

                      dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

                       

                      Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                        meetoo's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                        Indiana
                        United States
                        Member #124862
                        March 21, 2012
                        41 Posts
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                        Posted: April 17, 2012, 3:00 pm - IP Logged

                        "I stopped going to churches years ago because the various one's I attended all focused primarily on one thing...giving money to the church.  So then I started watching the line up on TV...they preach really good, get me all excited and then the sermon ends and the commercials begin...send some money and we will give you our new CD or DVD or book or holy water or prayer cloth or some other mess.  The only one's that seem sincere are the Jehovah Witnesses that go around the neighborhood....they have never asked me for money....and neither have the Mormons.   There is no point to this rant.  Sorry!  LOL"

                         

                        HT, men and women of God have a responsibility to present the truth even when it's not popular or contradicts society's preception of what should be taught or challenged. Having attended church for a long, long time now I can tell you from

                         experience that we are often most sensitive to the things we do not want to hear because we need to hear them most. Giving to the Lords work is as much a priveledge as it is a responsibility. Tithing is merely giving back to God a protion of

                         what He has already blessed us with. You cannot out give God! In his own words He challenges us to test Him in regards to our giving and He promises to pour us out a blessing we cannot contain. The blessings may be spiritual, financial, family,

                         health related etc... Personally, I've been blessed beyond my wildest expectations and look forward to even greater blessings in the future. May you and other's here at LP, experience the fullness of His peace, love and joy!

                        May You Prosper and be in Health!

                          dpoly1's avatar - driver
                          PA
                          United States
                          Member #66141
                          October 16, 2008
                          1697 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 17, 2012, 3:09 pm - IP Logged

                          "I stopped going to churches years ago because the various one's I attended all focused primarily on one thing...giving money to the church.  So then I started watching the line up on TV...they preach really good, get me all excited and then the sermon ends and the commercials begin...send some money and we will give you our new CD or DVD or book or holy water or prayer cloth or some other mess.  The only one's that seem sincere are the Jehovah Witnesses that go around the neighborhood....they have never asked me for money....and neither have the Mormons.   There is no point to this rant.  Sorry!  LOL"

                           

                          HT, men and women of God have a responsibility to present the truth even when it's not popular or contradicts society's preception of what should be taught or challenged. Having attended church for a long, long time now I can tell you from

                           experience that we are often most sensitive to the things we do not want to hear because we need to hear them most. Giving to the Lords work is as much a priveledge as it is a responsibility. Tithing is merely giving back to God a protion of

                           what He has already blessed us with. You cannot out give God! In his own words He challenges us to test Him in regards to our giving and He promises to pour us out a blessing we cannot contain. The blessings may be spiritual, financial, family,

                           health related etc... Personally, I've been blessed beyond my wildest expectations and look forward to even greater blessings in the future. May you and other's here at LP, experience the fullness of His peace, love and joy!

                          I Agree!

                          Christian Bashing is very popular these days ............... but that is OK for "Progressives", because they get to decide what is "Hate Speech" .......... Mad

                          dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

                           

                          Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                            rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                            Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                            United States
                            Member #73904
                            April 28, 2009
                            14903 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 17, 2012, 3:49 pm - IP Logged

                            I say we kill all the violent people.


                                                                         
                                                 
                                                                     

                             

                             

                             

                             

                                                                                                                               

                            "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                        --Edmund Burke