COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Forty-three states have a lottery, but Mississippi is not one of them. The subject has been a source of controversy for decades. A fact finding hearing is scheduled for the next legislative session.
Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee all have a lottery but legislation filed each year for a lottery in Mississippi never makes it out of committee. District 37 Representative Gary Chism (R) says getting a bill passed is going to be difficult.
“There are two distinct groups that are going to be opposed to this lottery. The first one is going to be the Mississippi Baptist. They will be vigilant to make sure that the lottery legislation does not pass. The other group that’s going to be that way is the casino industry. They don’t want a lottery either because it’s going to take away from their profits,” says Chism.
Both Governor Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves have gone on record opposing a state lottery. Still, House Gaming Chair Richard Bennett plans to hold a hearing before the 2013 session begins.
At least three lottery bills were filed in 2012, all for the purpose of raising more funds for education.
In 1992, Northeast Mississippi voted overwhelmingly against lifting the Constitutional ban on a state-wide lottery.