Lawmakers in Mississippi House make push for state lottery

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi House voted twice Tuesday to establish a state lottery, but the effort is likely to be squashed in the Senate.

Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston, introduced a lottery to Senate Bill 2541 (http://bit.ly/1UrUOD0), which would set rules for online fantasy sports contests. Half of the lottery would go to public education and half would go to county road and bridge maintenance.

Reynolds said he doesn’t personally support gambling but that if it’s going to happen, the proceeds should go to the state.

“I didn’t vote for any of it,” he said about gambling. “I don’t like this bill, but it’s here, so I would like to get some money out of it.”

He said neighboring states were reaping benefits from Mississippians buying lottery tickets there.

“The tribes of Tennessee are getting that money,” he said to a raucous House hollering its support.

Rep. Steve Holland also said people drive across state lines to Tennessee buy tickets.

“There is so much carnage just from people driving across state lines to get tickets,” he said. “I think I even saw a First Baptist Church van going up there.”

He said a majority of Mississippians want a state lottery.

“It’s time to give people what they want, and what they want is a lottery,” he said. “I am positive of that.”

Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, introduced her amendment to Senate Bill 2524 (http://bit.ly/1PEbEqp), originally written to revise pay for supervisors of charity bingo games. The Mississippi Gaming Commission would establish a lottery that would fund education.

Clarke is a longtime supporter of lotteries.

“I’ve been bringing this lottery bill up here for 25 years,” she said.

Mississippi voters chose to legalize the possibility of a state lottery in 1992, but many legislators oppose the games of chance because of religious reasons.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said the lottery proposals will be dead on arrival in the Senate.

“I don’t think there’s any appetite in the Senate for a lottery,” Fillingane said Tuesday after the House votes. “I’m betting against it.”

 

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