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Wyoming Senate passes lottery bill

Feb 22, 2013, 10:45 pm

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Wyoming LotteryWyoming Lottery: Wyoming Senate passes lottery billRating:

Includes video report

The Wyoming Senate voted 18-10 Friday for a bill to allow a state lottery and multi-state games such as the Powerball.

However, the bill designates revenue from the games for long-term school improvements, contrary to the bill as it came from the House. The revised measure will return to the House.

The Senate approval came after years of attempts for a lottery that only got as far as the House. This year the Senate took House Bill 177 and changed the recipients of the revenue, estimated at $6 million or more per year.

The bill as it passed the House dedicated the money to municipalities, hamlets and counties. The Senate adopted an amendment to deposit the money in the Common School Permanent Land Fund instead.

The House will consider the Senate changes, and the matter is likely to be referred to a joint House-Senate conference committee to work out differences or drop it.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Phil Nicholas, R-Laramie, had offered the school-fund amendment earlier without success. On Friday he succeeded. He said the proponents of the lottery designated local governments as recipients of the money to gain support for the bill and local officials did not lobby for it.

The revenue would amount to little when divided up among the municipalities, counties and hamlets. "I doubt that the people in Hulett or anywhere else will feel this is enough to even fill one pothole," Nicholas said.

Putting the money in the permanent fund will be an endowment account for the future of schools, he said.

Rep. Dave Zwonitzer, the main sponsor of the measure, said he knew there would be disagreement over where the money should go. "I would like to hope that we won't lose the bill over that, but it is possible," he said.

One of the strongest statements in opposition to the bill came from Sen. Ray Peterson, R-Cowley, who said nearly all of his constituents opposed the bill. He said that since he has been in the Legislature he has has seen all kinds of programs, including entitlement programs, subsidies, food stamps and reduced school lunches to help disadvantaged people.

"I get this image in me of standing in line at the grocery story going through the checkout with my a sack of groceries and someone in front of me pulls out food stamps to pay the bill and then pulls out $10 or $20 to buy lotto tickets.

"A lot of our citizens are on the dole. And it's not their money; it's our money," he said. "It's wrong to say, 'We'll subsidize you here so you can spend money in other ways.'"

The lottery marketing people, he said, are good at trying to get "money from the poor peasants in the field by saying, 'We'll make it fun and exciting and we'll prey on their hopes.'"

The bill sets up a quasi-state corporation and nine-member board with the responsibility of raising funds and developing a business plan for the lottery.

Sponsors say the corporation must stand or fail on its own. The Senate amended the proposal to prohibit the corporation from getting any state money.

The bill also dedicates $200,000 in unclaimed winnings to the Wyoming Department of Health to treat people with gambling addictions.

If it passes, the bill would go into effect July 1.

VIDEO: How the process would work to determine what games would be played.


Star-Tribune, K2

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7 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by Think.
Page 1 of 1
dallascowboyfan's avatar - chi
United States
Member #82389
November 12, 2009
6371 Posts
Posted: February 22, 2013, 10:54 pm - IP Logged

Woo Hoo Wyoming Hurray!

I Love Pink & Green 1908

    sully16's avatar - sharan
    United States
    Member #81738
    October 28, 2009
    75589 Posts
    Posted: February 22, 2013, 10:59 pm - IP Logged

    Congrats Wyoming Party

    Hi LP family, won't be posting for a couple days, Hurt my right arm.

      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
      United States
      Member #73902
      April 28, 2009
      14903 Posts
      Posted: February 22, 2013, 11:14 pm - IP Logged

      About time.

      Hope Dick Cheney wins.Hyper


        United States
        Member #128369
        May 22, 2012
        204 Posts
        Posted: February 22, 2013, 11:54 pm - IP Logged

        Your turn, Alabama.

        The lottery is NOT a tax on the poor.  By calling it a tax, you are calling it mandatory, which is what taxes are.  But the lottery is NOT mandatory, therefore calling it a tax highly inaccurate.

          mightwin's avatar - questns

          United States
          Member #103782
          January 5, 2011
          486 Posts
          Posted: February 23, 2013, 12:12 am - IP Logged

          Hopefully they can agree on where the money goes and not waste everyones time.

            PlanB's avatar - Lone 20Star.png
            TX Coastal Bend
            United States
            Member #105990
            February 10, 2011
            909 Posts
            Posted: February 23, 2013, 9:04 am - IP Logged

            Congratulations WY!

            Will be in Wyoming this summer and will be supporting their new lottery.

              Think's avatar - lightbulb
              Marquette, MI
              United States
              Member #20540
              August 20, 2005
              871 Posts
              Posted: February 23, 2013, 10:47 am - IP Logged

              Hopefully they can agree on where the money goes and not waste everyones time.

              Half the money here the other half there...Problem solved now sign it!