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Mississippi lawmakers could debate creation of a lottery

MississippiMississippi: Mississippi lawmakers could debate creation of a lottery
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JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi residents for years have been crossing into Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee to buy lottery tickets.

In 2018, lawmakers could debate whether Mississippi will join the large majority of states that offer games of chance.

Supporters say money being spent on lottery tickets elsewhere could, instead, be spent in Mississippi, creating revenue to help pay for highways, schools or other state government services.

"If that money is going to go to educate children and it's going to go to fix roads and bridges, then it ought to be in Mississippi," Rep. Mark Baker, a Republican from Brandon, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I'm just being a realist about it."

Opponents, including leaders of the influential Mississippi Baptist Convention, say lotteries are spiritually corrupting and the games create unrealistic hopes for people who struggle to pay their own living expenses.

"It's pretty well documented that gambling, like alcohol, is not the best thing that can happen for Mississippi families. So, Mississippi Baptists are against gambling because it corrupts the soul," William Perkins, editor of the convention's weekly newspaper, the Baptist Record, said at the state Capitol in May.

Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The others are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant suggested during his 2017 State of the State address that Mississippi should consider creating a lottery as a way to generate revenue without raising taxes. Weeks later, the House approved a lottery on a loud voice vote. But when a representative requested an electronic vote to record the yes or no of each member, there were only 40 votes in favor and 74 against. The proposal failed.

Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton, who's a leader in his Baptist church, opposes the lottery. After the 2017 legislative session ended, though, Gunn created a group that spent months studying the issue. Members gathered information about how much money other states have made from their lotteries, but made no recommendations for or against creating a lottery in Mississippi.

Mississippi voters in November 1992 removed the state constitution's prohibition on a lottery, but the games of chance are still banned by general state law.

The first casinos opened in Mississippi in August 1992, and since then, an unlikely alliance of religious groups and casino operators has opposed creating a lottery in the state.

Casinos are now more targeted in their opposition. The director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association, Larry Gregory, told the lottery study group in November that casino operators would not be against the creation of a state lottery that sells paper tickets for scratch-off games or multistate Powerball games — but they oppose video gambling in places like bars and convenience stores.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., a Democrat who served on the study group, said that like other members, he is not taking a position for or against a lottery. But, he said if one is created, legislators should not put the lottery revenue into the general state budget. Rather, he said the money should be used to build up the state's rainy day fund, which provides a financial cushion in case of shortfalls in tax collections.

"You could collect it a year before you spent out of it. And it's a safeguard — a conservative safeguard," Flaggs said in November.

Mississippi's state economist, Darrin Webb, said in November that Mississippi residents spend an estimated $5 million to $10 million a year playing the lottery in Arkansas and about $30 million playing the lottery in Louisiana. Webb said the figures came from lottery administrators in those states.

The study group examined how much money neighboring states collected, after prizes were awarded and expenses were paid, during the budget year that ended June 30, 2016. The figure for Arkansas was $85.2 million. For Louisiana, it was $177.9 million. For Tennessee, it was $395 million.

Mississippi Senate Finance Committee Chairman Joey Fillingane, a Republican from Sumrall, said Tuesday that he opposes a lottery but would allow his committee to vote on a bill if one is filed. While some lottery supporters have suggested the state should earmark any collections for highways, Fillingane said the Department of Transportation has requested roughly $300 million to $400 million for a long-term program of construction and improvements and he thinks a lottery would generate only about $50 million to $100 million a year.

"It's not the end-all, be-all that some people think it is," Fillingane said.

AP

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9 comments. Last comment 7 months ago by PrisonerSix.
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United States
Member #135804
November 29, 2012
402 Posts
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Posted: December 27, 2017, 12:31 pm - IP Logged

Stuck in another century

    music*'s avatar - box
    The Big Valley in California
    United States
    Member #157856
    August 2, 2014
    2493 Posts
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    Posted: December 27, 2017, 1:32 pm - IP Logged

    I Agree! with the last statement in this post. "It's not the end-all, be-all that some people think it is,"Fillingane said. 

     Here in California, each school district receives a small amount. Even though all the lottery proceeds only go to the schools. It is a pittance compared to the actual school budget. 

    PatriotDance

      Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.  Alan Watts and Zen Buddhism

      lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

      United States
      Member #118609
      November 4, 2011
      1325 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 27, 2017, 1:59 pm - IP Logged

      I Agree! with the last statement in this post. "It's not the end-all, be-all that some people think it is,"Fillingane said. 

       Here in California, each school district receives a small amount. Even though all the lottery proceeds only go to the schools. It is a pittance compared to the actual school budget. 

      PatriotDance

      Sounds like the postal service.  Retirement benefit packages so huge it is bankrupting the post office. Same for the schools? 

        music*'s avatar - box
        The Big Valley in California
        United States
        Member #157856
        August 2, 2014
        2493 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 27, 2017, 4:46 pm - IP Logged

        Sounds like the postal service.  Retirement benefit packages so huge it is bankrupting the post office. Same for the schools? 

          Will the Post Office need higher taxes to pay for all their mistakes?

         Thank God for Proposition 13 here in CA. Our property taxes would be double or tripled if the politicians got their way.

         I guess that is why the Politicians do not want to raise taxes in Mississippi. It could start a revolt. 

          Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.  Alan Watts and Zen Buddhism

          zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
          South Carolina
          United States
          Member #77167
          July 15, 2009
          807 Posts
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          Posted: December 27, 2017, 6:24 pm - IP Logged

          The lottery won't be any more corrupting to one's soul than those casinos that are already there.  Don't see any of those hypocrites trying to close casinos.

          Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

          “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

            noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
            Chasing the Dream.
            White Shores- California
            United States
            Member #136477
            December 12, 2012
            5081 Posts
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            Posted: December 27, 2017, 7:53 pm - IP Logged

            l wonder how many of those influential Ministers,are driving around with bmw's, Mercedes, Lexus vehicles? Those rides for the most part, are coming from the contributions of the poor. Creflo Dollar wanted he's congregation to buy him a $70m Gulfstream Jet..oh please.

             * Voice of Reason *   

             

            People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

              grwurston's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
              Living My Signature
              bel air maryland
              United States
              Member #90251
              April 24, 2010
              6677 Posts
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              Posted: December 28, 2017, 8:19 pm - IP Logged

              The lottery won't be any more corrupting to one's soul than those casinos that are already there.  Don't see any of those hypocrites trying to close casinos.

              The casino operators are paying off the politicians, just like in Nevada. They don't want the competition. Like they say, just follow the money.

              They're not about to close any of the bingo halls either.

              But the lottery will corrupt your soul. They are so full of  BSit makes want to Puke

              "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

              The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

              Every lottery system can be improved. If you're not winning almost every day, yours can be made better.

                Avatar
                Simpsonville
                United States
                Member #163189
                January 22, 2015
                1320 Posts
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                Posted: January 1, 2018, 9:08 am - IP Logged

                HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

                 

                Maybe Mississippians will get their wish this year--a lottery. 

                 

                Like I've said before lottery guru as they call me, has played the lottery in casinos in RI, the one in Mass, CT,

                NJ, and OH.  No big deal, sometimes just a lottery machine like in RI and MA.  Others had sales inside stores on the properties, just not inside the casino.  Keep the folks on your property.

                  Avatar
                  Baton Rouge, LA
                  United States
                  Member #4602
                  May 7, 2004
                  708 Posts
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                  Posted: January 1, 2018, 10:46 pm - IP Logged

                  The casino operators are paying off the politicians, just like in Nevada. They don't want the competition. Like they say, just follow the money.

                  They're not about to close any of the bingo halls either.

                  But the lottery will corrupt your soul. They are so full of  BSit makes want to Puke

                  I'm sure that is true.

                  Prisoner Six

                  "I am not a number, I am a free man!"