The odds of a Nevada lottery proposal winning approval from state lawmakers this year are about as long as, well, someone hitting a winning lottery ticket.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, said Wednesday that the lottery proposal, AJR5, was brought up for the
third time in a committee work session, but no panel member moved
to vote on it. Amodei said that he doesn't intend to bring it up a fourth time.
The constitutional amendment, sponsored by Assemblyman Ruben
Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, was passed by the Democrat-controlled Assembly in March. The proposal moved forward on a mostly party-line 29-13 vote, with only one Democrat opposing the measure.
But Senate Democrats declined to put up a fight for the proposal, saying that it was doomed to fail in the Republican-controlled upper house.
"It's a policy that ultimately I wish the voters would have a chance to decide," said Sen. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas. "Now our responsibility is to find other ways to fund education."
Amodei said he was convinced by arguments that creating a lottery would bring the state into competition with its primary industry. A casino-funded study discussed during hearings on the proposal found that the lottery would earn $51 million in profits for the state, but those gains would be offset by job losses.
"To put the state in the gaming business puts us in competition with the Strip," said Amodei. "And this creates no jobs to speak of."
Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, said the issue needs to be studied further before the state takes action that could hurt the gambling industry. Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, said he was opposed to a lottery because it "preys on those that are socially and economically disadvantaged."
In previous hearings, proponents argued that a lottery would help the state's financially strapped schools without raising taxes.
The committee passed several other measures, including:
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)