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By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The chairman of the House Gaming Committee says he will hold an initial fact-finding committee hearing sometime within the next three or four weeks to look at proposals for a state lottery in Mississippi.”So many people have asked about (a lottery). Legislators put in bills for it — every year. I told them we would look at it,” Rep. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, told The Clarion-Ledger.

Forty-three states have lotteries, including all but one — Alabama — that border on Mississippi.

Supporters say a lottery would help shore the state budget — and could be earmarked for education — and keep Mississippians from spending lottery dollars in neighboring states.

Bennett said he has the Mississippi Gaming Commission and a casinos’ association gathering information for lawmakers.

In 1992 Mississippians voted, by 53 percent, to change the state constitution and allow a lottery. Lawmakers have never enacted a lottery.

“I think the people would probably be for it,” Bennett said. “But just because they’re for it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.”

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