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Mississippi voters approved a lottery 24 years ago, so where is it?

MississippiMississippi: Mississippi voters approved a lottery 24 years ago, so where is it?
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Every time a Powerball jackpot grows to life-altering levels, Mississippians pour across the state line to buy tickets.

Americans spent $73 billion on lottery tickets last year, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

Mississippi voters approved a state lottery back in 1992, but the Legislature never followed up and has voted down all of the dozens of bills introduced to legalize the lottery. In the last session, Rep. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, sponsored a bill that would allow Powerball tickets to be sold at the state's casinos and Sen. Tommy Gollott, R-Biloxi, sponsored a lottery bill that would funnel lottery proceeds into education, roads and bridges in the state.

Mississippi is one of only six states that doesn't allow a lottery, along with Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. Alabama came close to approving a lottery in a special session in August.

The other 43 states and the District of Columbia last year diverted $20 billion in lottery proceeds into their general funds or for education and programs for seniors, the environment and economic development.

Louisiana directed $185 million last year from the lottery into the state coffers. The winners were the lucky ticketholders and Louisiana, which banked the proceeds, part of which came from Mississippians.

Wyoming started its lottery in 2014 because of the number of people who were buying lottery tickets in neighboring states.

So is Mississippi losing money that could help fully fund education or shore up some of the state's budget shortfall?

Or is the state Legislature keeping residents from spending money on lottery tickets that would be better spent elsewhere?

One fact: Look at the number of cars with Mississippi plates parked at the convenience stores in Louisiana when the Powerball jackpots swell.

"That's revenue lost that should be staying in the state," said Alan Silver, assistant professor at Ohio University and part-time Pass Christian resident.

The probability of winning is enormous — 1 in 292 million for the Powerball jackpot — but, he acknowledges, "It's a good dream."

The upside of a lottery is it would improve the lifestyle in the state, especially if the proceeds go to education, Silver said. The downside is people who can't afford to play the lottery may buy tickets thinking they will win and all their dreams will come true.

Gov. Phil Bryant recently told the Clarion-Ledger he'd be willing to discuss a state lottery, becoming the first Mississippi governor in about 30 years to say so. He said he wouldn't want to dedicate the revenue to specific areas such as public education.

"Our children's future should not be left to a game of chance," he said.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves told the newspaper his decision on a state lottery would depend on whether it would bring in new money or take money from sales taxes and casinos.

One of the reasons most frequently given for not having a lottery in Mississippi is it would take money away from the casinos.

"I don't think it would affect the casinos," said Father Richard McGowan, a Jesuit priest and associate professor at Carroll School of Management at Boston College who frequently writes about lotteries and casinos.

McGowan is using Mississippi as an "outlier" in a book he is writing and said Mississippi is the only state outside of Nevada to allow casinos before a lottery.

Some in Mississippi say a lottery should be banned for religious reasons.

"To me it's a morally neutral act," McGowan said. Just as an alcoholic shouldn't drink and a problem gambler shouldn't gamble, he said a person who can't control lottery spending shouldn't play the lottery. It shouldn't be banned for everyone, he said.

About 2.5 percent of Americans are identified as problem gamblers.

Lotteries are an inconsistent source of revenue for the states and an impulse buy, McGowan said. When the price of gasoline goes up, lottery sales go down, and just how successful Mississippi's lottery would be could depend on what the state is willing to spend on advertising the games.

As much as 80 percent of lottery sales come from scratch games rather than Powerball, McGowan said. In Massachusetts, the games are tied in to the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and other national sports teams in the region.

And where Mississippi is still talking about allowing a lottery, McGowan said, Massachusetts is considering putting lottery sales online.

A June Gallup survey shows the number of Americans who said they bought a state lottery ticket in the last year is 49 percent. That is down from 57 percent in 1996, despite seven more states allowing lotteries over that period.

"The exact reason for the decline in Americans' reports of playing the lottery during the last 13 years is not clear, although gamblers now also have a wider range of gambling avenues from which to choose, including the proliferation of online poker and online fantasy sports leagues," Gallup said.

And whether or not Mississippi legalizes a lottery, its residents will continue to buy lottery tickets.

"No matter who you are you dream of what you could do with that money," McGowan said.

Lottery annual revenue and benefactors by state

Alabama

0

 

Alaska

0

 

Arizona

$176,000,000

General fund, homeless shelters, heritage fund, mass transit, etc

Arkansas

$73,000,000

Education

California

$1,390,000,000

Education

Colorado

$128,000,000

Parks and Wildlife and other outdoor programs, school fund

Connecticut

$320,000,000

General fund for education, roads, health, public safety, etc.

Delaware

$203,000,000

General fund, problem gambling

D.C.

$56,000,000

General fund

Florida

$1,500,000,000

Education

Georgia

$981,000,000

Education

Hawaii

0

 

Idaho

$45,000,000

Education, public buildings

Illinois

$690,000,000

Education, veterans, health programs, Special Olympics, capital projects

Indiana

$243,000,000

Build Indiana, pensions for teachers, police and firefighters

Iowa

$75,000,000

General fund and veterans trust fund

Kansas

$75,000,000

To state

Kentucky

$236,000,000

College scholarships and literacy programs

Louisiana

$185,000,000

To state, problem gambling

Maine

$55,000,000

General fund, outdoor heritage fund

Maryland

$965,000,000

General fund, stadium authority, education trust fund, etc.

Massachusetts

$986,000,000

Cities and towns, arts council, general fund, compulsive gamblers

Michigan

$797,000,000

Education, general fund

Minnesota

$136,000,000

General fund, environment and natural resources, compulsive gambling

Mississippi

0

 

Missouri

$271,000,000

Education

Montana

$12,000,000

General fund

Nebraska

$37,000,000

Compulsive gambling, education, environmental, state fair, etc.

Nevada

0

 

New Hampshire

$74,000,000

Education

New Jersey

$960,000,000

Education

New Mexico

$41,000,000

Lottery tuition fund

New York

$3,100,000,000

Education

North Carolina

$527,000,000

Education

North Dakota

$7,000,000

Compulsive gambling, general fund, drug task force

Ohio

$1,100,000,000

Education

Oklahoma

$61,000,000

Education, mental health

Oregon

$545,000,000

Economic development, education, parks, natural resources, gambling addiction

Pennsylvania

$1,060,000,000

Older Pennyslvanians

Rhode Island

$382,000,000

General fund

South Carolina

$344,000,000

Education

South Dakota

$112,000,000

General fund, capital construction, property tax reduction, human services

Tennessee

$348,000,000

Education, After school program

Texas

$1,240,000,000

Education, veterans

Utah

0

 

Vermont

$23,000,000

Education

Virginia

$534,000,000

Education

Washington

$141,000,000

Opportunity pathways, stadium, economic development, problem gambling, education

West Virginia

$508,000,000

Education, senior citizens, tourism

Wisconsin

$167,000,000

Property tax relief

Wyoming

N/A

To cities, counties and education

Total

$19.5 billion

Source: North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries

Sun Herald

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14 comments. Last comment 2 months ago by LottoAce.
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Avatar
Simpsonville
United States
Member #163189
January 22, 2015
668 Posts
Online
Posted: October 9, 2016, 8:25 am - IP Logged

Never knew the voters had approved a lottery there.  Too bad a group of somebodies didn't file suit to allow what the people want--a lottery.  Good luck with this one Mississippi, don't mean to sound cynical but this story is the nail in the coffin for me as far as a lottery goes.

    Raven62's avatar - binary
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #17843
    June 28, 2005
    49674 Posts
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    Posted: October 9, 2016, 8:30 am - IP Logged

    I guess not that many are crossing the border: Louisiana $185,000,000

    A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

      MaximumMillions's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg

      Germany
      Member #164603
      March 8, 2015
      604 Posts
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      Posted: October 9, 2016, 8:38 am - IP Logged

      North Dakota

      $7,000,000

      Compulsive gambling,

       

      Green laugh

      Nolege is power.

        Avatar
        New York, NY
        United States
        Member #140634
        March 23, 2013
        2958 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: October 9, 2016, 8:44 am - IP Logged

        It took Mississippi 148 years to ratify the 13th Ammendment. What do you think?

          music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
          Happy California
          United States
          Member #157856
          August 2, 2014
          1510 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: October 9, 2016, 1:16 pm - IP Logged

          Thank You for this Post with the Table of States that play the Lottery. Very informative.

           I guess that I do not know how anyone, especially children, can go hungry here in the U.S.

           There is plenty of food and plenty of money. Most cities have safety nets that help the poor. Americans are very generous. The U.S. is the most generous nation on earth.

           After Hurricane Matthew devastated the Southwest part of Haiti, Americans in the military were there the next day to help.

           I apologize for high jacking this post. Should I have put my thoughts in a blog?

           I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

           Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

            ressuccess's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg

            United States
            Member #93164
            June 23, 2010
            1322 Posts
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            Posted: October 9, 2016, 5:12 pm - IP Logged

            I hope they get a lottery bill going again in Mississippi.

            I hope that one $2 ticket is the only one that matches all 5 numbers plus the Powerball to win the largest Powerball Jackpot in United States history of over $2 Billion Dollars!

              Avatar
              NEW YORK
              United States
              Member #90535
              April 29, 2010
              11978 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: October 9, 2016, 6:31 pm - IP Logged

              LOTTERIES TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM THE ECONOMY. Lottery players are realizing that true.

               

              "A June Gallup survey shows the number of Americans who said they bought a state lottery ticket in the last year is 49 percent. That is down from 57 percent in 1996, despite seven more states allowing lotteries over that period.

              "The exact reason for the decline in Americans' reports of playing the lottery during the last 13 years is not clear, although gamblers now also have a wider range of gambling avenues from which to choose, including the proliferation of online poker and online fantasy sports leagues," Gallup said."

               

               

              US Flag

              PLAY THE LOTTERY SOMEDAY-IT IS OKAY TO DREAM!

                Avatar
                Simpsonville
                United States
                Member #163189
                January 22, 2015
                668 Posts
                Online
                Posted: October 9, 2016, 6:32 pm - IP Logged

                I hope they get a lottery bill going again in Mississippi.

                Me too, same for Alabama.  My reasoning:  Lottery fatigue seems to have set in and it takes longer and longer to get some seriously high jackpots.  But I wanted kick a gift horse in the mouth; $40 million is fine with me...lol.

                  MaximumMillions's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg

                  Germany
                  Member #164603
                  March 8, 2015
                  604 Posts
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                  Posted: October 9, 2016, 7:31 pm - IP Logged

                  Me too, same for Alabama.  My reasoning:  Lottery fatigue seems to have set in and it takes longer and longer to get some seriously high jackpots.  But I wanted kick a gift horse in the mouth; $40 million is fine with me...lol.

                  But would the amount of truly new players really offset jackpot fatigue? With all these states already playing, how many people that don't currently play would play if all states offered it? 

                  Maybe Hawai'i would be a big jump, with the citizens and the tourists playing. Mississippi is only 3 million citizen, of which not all are of legal age or want to play.

                  Nolege is power.

                    Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

                    United States
                    Member #162631
                    January 7, 2015
                    502 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: October 9, 2016, 8:23 pm - IP Logged

                    Thank You for this Post with the Table of States that play the Lottery. Very informative.

                     I guess that I do not know how anyone, especially children, can go hungry here in the U.S.

                     There is plenty of food and plenty of money. Most cities have safety nets that help the poor. Americans are very generous. The U.S. is the most generous nation on earth.

                     After Hurricane Matthew devastated the Southwest part of Haiti, Americans in the military were there the next day to help.

                     I apologize for high jacking this post. Should I have put my thoughts in a blog?

                    .

                    Music*,

                    I agree on the "How can children go hungry in the USA?", AND how generous as a nation we are.
                    When there's a crisis that makes it to CNN, I always expect to hear about the USA response.

                    In fact, I'm sure you remember about the 2004 Indonesian soonamy (spelling, I know :) ), where ¼ of million people perished (12/26/2004)

                    People there were saying:     "Where is the USA to help?"

                    There is definitely plenty of money, 'out there'.

                    • Don't chase the numbers you play.
                    • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
                    • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
                              (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
                      Avatar
                      NEW YORK
                      United States
                      Member #90535
                      April 29, 2010
                      11978 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: October 9, 2016, 8:30 pm - IP Logged

                      .

                      Music*,

                      I agree on the "How can children go hungry in the USA?", AND how generous as a nation we are.
                      When there's a crisis that makes it to CNN, I always expect to hear about the USA response.

                      In fact, I'm sure you remember about the 2004 Indonesian soonamy (spelling, I know :) ), where ¼ of million people perished (12/26/2004)

                      People there were saying:     "Where is the USA to help?"

                      There is definitely plenty of money, 'out there'.

                      World population is in the billions, millions of people are born every hour?

                       

                      Green laughGreen laughGreen laugh

                      US Flag

                      PLAY THE LOTTERY SOMEDAY-IT IS OKAY TO DREAM!

                        Avatar
                        NEW YORK
                        United States
                        Member #90535
                        April 29, 2010
                        11978 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: October 9, 2016, 8:32 pm - IP Logged

                        But would the amount of truly new players really offset jackpot fatigue? With all these states already playing, how many people that don't currently play would play if all states offered it? 

                        Maybe Hawai'i would be a big jump, with the citizens and the tourists playing. Mississippi is only 3 million citizen, of which not all are of legal age or want to play.

                        Selling lottery tickets through the Internet across states lines, tax free and claiming anonymously would help states with money problems?

                        US Flag

                        PLAY THE LOTTERY SOMEDAY-IT IS OKAY TO DREAM!

                          music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
                          Happy California
                          United States
                          Member #157856
                          August 2, 2014
                          1510 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: October 9, 2016, 9:02 pm - IP Logged

                          Selling lottery tickets through the Internet across states lines, tax free and claiming anonymously would help states with money problems?

                           THRIFTY, You are way ahead of everyone else. Wink

                           I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

                           Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

                            LottoAce's avatar - WWI Flying_Ace.gif
                            N.C.
                            United States
                            Member #56005
                            October 28, 2007
                            829 Posts
                            Online
                            Posted: October 10, 2016, 12:21 pm - IP Logged

                            another classic tale of a state government ignoring the people.
                            where has democracy gone?

                            "know your limitations, but excede your expectations"