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Legislative group begins further study of lottery impacts

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

The Mississippi House Lottery Study Working Group held its initial public meeting at the Capitol Thursday to discuss the process of studying the impacts a state lottery could have on Mississippi.

The meeting explored the history of the lottery and the noted impacts on other states that allow for a lottery.

In neighboring states with a lottery in place, the range of net sales after prizes and expenses varied:

  • Arkansas: $85.2 million
  • Louisiana: $177.9 million
  • Tennessee: $394.0 million

The commission is in the process of planning a trip to meet with the lottery commissions in Arkansas and Louisiana for more information.

“We’re going to ask them about the disadvantages, the advantages, the costs,” said House Gaming Chairman Richard Bennett. “We won’t leave any stone unturned.”

The group will divide their study into four groups: background issues, operational issues, social issues and economic issues.

Bennett also reiterated that the individual opinions of the lottery will have no impact on the study.

“Personally, I’m for a lottery,” said Bennett. “But this may change my mind…but this study is purely objective. It won’t change based on opinions.”

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn had expressed his opposition to a lottery previously, but has since said the study is not about confirming what he believes, but assessing the true impacts the lottery may or may not have.

A date has not been set for the next working group meeting.

“We hope to have the study done by the end of the year,” said Bennett.

The group is made up of the following individuals:

  • Richard Bennett–Mississippi House of Representatives, District 120 (Long Beach), House Gaming Chairman
  • Nick Bain–Mississippi House of Representatives, District 2 (Corinth)
  • Chris Johnson–Mississippi House of Representatives, District 87 (Hattiesburg)
  • Mac Huddleston–Mississippi House of Representatives, District 15 (Pontotoc)
  • Cedric Burnett–Mississippi House of Representatives, District 9 (Tunica)
  • Allen Godfrey–Mississippi Gaming Commission Executive Director
  • George Flaggs–Vicksburg Mayor
  • James Barber–PEER Director
  • Lou Frascogna–Special Assistant to the Attorney General and Counsel to the Mississippi Gaming Commission

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