Gambling and lottery expansion failing across the U.S., non-starter in Idaho
Some state legislatures across the country reacted to downturns in tax revenue by trying to raise more money from lotteries and other forms of gambling. The Idaho Lottery doesn’t support that idea, and efforts in other states have been largely unsuccessful.
More than half of all states considered changes to their gambling laws, but just four enacted changes so far, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Attempts in 17 statehouses failed, while five states’ actions are undetermined, according to the NCSL.
Among the changes, Ohio and New York both are now selling tickets for Powerball, the multi-state lottery Idaho already participates in. New York estimates that it will raise $134 million in the next year from Powerball.
New York also expanded the hours of video slot machines at its racetracks, while Delaware will add table games including poker and blackjack. Florida passed a law expanding the Seminole Tribe’s gaming operations, which is expected to generate $433 million.
Idaho doesn’t have any plans to expand its lottery, according to lottery spokesman David Workman. He said the lottery is considering some small changes to gaming rules, but no changes to laws that would seek to expand state revenues.
The Idaho Lottery has seen profits rise during the past few years, with a record $36.5 million profit during the last fiscal year. That money goes to public schools and the state’s Permanent Building Fund.
Gov. Butch Otter told IdahoReporter.com in July that he doesn’t think there’s support in Idaho for more wide-open gaming.
Failed efforts to expand gambling in other states include a proposed tax on lottery tickets in Kansas and creating a lottery in Mississippi. Several states that allow casino gambling also stalled in efforts to allow more casino locations. The NCSL estimates that states across the country faced a budget gap of at least $83.9 billion, which contributed to the plans to find new revenue sources.