La., Tenn. games drawing Miss. customers, but bill unlikely to pass
Mississippi state Rep. Alyce Clarke has introduced a bill for a lottery in Mississippi, but key lawmakers, including House Speaker Billy McCoy and the House Gaming Committee chairman, said don't bet on it passing.
Clarke, D-Jackson, said she's tired of seeing Mississippians go to Louisiana and now Tennessee, which started its game Tuesday, to buy lottery tickets.
"It's better to keep the money here," Clarke said.
Clarke's bill comes as the state is strapped for money to pay for public schools, colleges and a host of services.
The money raised by the lottery would go toward education, Clarke said. She did not have an estimate of how much money a lottery might raise.
The Legislature has been considering lottery bills since the late 1980s. However, there's been strong opposition from religious groups. Clarke said she also expects casinos to oppose the legislation.
"I doubt we will deal with it this session," said Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, chairman of the Gaming Committee. "We want to look at the numbers and the impact before jumping into it," he said.
McCoy, D-Rienzi, said he doubts there are enough votes in the 122-member House to pass the lottery bill. "I'm personally opposed to that means of supporting government," he said.
Rep. Walter Robinson Jr., D-Bolton, said the state already has 29 casinos, but he still doesn't think a lottery will pass.
"You don't need to keep hitting your head against the wall," Robinson said.
Sen. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, said he's "adamantly opposed to the state enticing people to spend on a lottery."
Iuka resident Angelina Gober, 36, said she would consider making the five-mile trip to Tennessee to buy a lottery ticket.
"It doesn't make sense at all" for Mississippians to have to travel to other states to play the lottery, she said.
Corinth resident Trina Killough, 24, said people in her hometown will make the 10-minute drive to Selmer, Tenn., to buy lottery tickets, but she won't be one of them. "I really don't care about it," Killough said.