The Mississippi House of Representatives has approved a set of statues establishing a state lottery.
The Mississippi House voted to create a state lottery not once but twice yesterday. The two measures were added as amendments to other bills dealing with the state’s gambling laws.
This is perhaps the furthest a measure actually establishing a state lottery has ever made it in the Legislature. In the past members have killed similar bills due to tightly held religious beliefs.
During a debate on his amendment, Democratic Representative Tommy Reynolds of Charleston told Representative Bob Evans of Monticello that others states, just as religious, are benefiting from lotteries.
“Isn’t this analogous to casting lots for the savior’s clothing when he was on the cross?” Evans’ asked.
“Well it might be analogous to casting lots for the division of the Tribes of Israel when they decided who got what in the Land of Israel,” says Reynolds. “The Tribe of Tennessee is getting our money. The Tribe of Louisiana is getting our money. Let’s get the Tribe of Mississippi some money. . .”
A majority of Mississippi voters approved a lottery in the early 90’s, but lawmakers opposed to gambling never took steps to establish how the games were to be operated.
Chair of the Gaming Committee, Republican Richard Bennett of Long Beach urged lawmakers to vote against the bill.
“I can tell you that a state lottery is not going to be as profitable as what people think,” says Bennett. “Arkansas is struggling with theirs now. If we look at the Mega Lottery it may be a little different story. Again, we need to look at it, but I ask you to keep this bill clean.”
While the House overwhelmingly passed both lottery measures, the statutes won’t likely make it to the Governor’s Desk. Senator Joey Fillingane of Sumrall says the measure won’t make it out of the end of session negotiations.