Lottery bill makes it further than any other in Nevada’s history

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 1:04 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - In a few years, you might be able to skip the trip to Primm or Arizona for a chance to win millions.

A bill that would clear the way for the Nevada Legislature to provide and regulate lotteries was passed by the Nevada Assembly on Monday and is the first of its kind to even make it out of committee, getting 26 of 42 votes.

“So many Nevadans go to the border to purchase tickets,” Assemblyman Cameron Miller, one of the bill’s sponsors, said Wednesday. “This bill just gives them an opportunity to have a say on it.”

Miller says the successful vote in the Assembly is a sign the state is ready for a lottery.

“I think that the opinion on the lottery in our state is just changing as our population has grown,” he explained. “So many people have transplanted from other communities and other states where they were able to play, and they don’t have the opportunity here.”

Assemblywoman Jill Dickman pushed back against Miller’s bill during a committee hearing last week.

“The lottery this would create would be in direct competition with our gaming industry,” she said. “(It) provides lots of jobs, many of them very good-paying jobs.”

Miller says lotteries and casinos can coexist.

“Many of our gaming partners in our state also operate in different states, successfully, that also have lotteries,” he said. “We’re in a unique position to be able to take the greatest gaming minds that are in the world in our state and create something that is uniquely different by bringing our gaming partners to the table and partnering with them on what a lottery could look like in our state.”

Dickman also claims, though, that lotteries sometimes do more harm than good.

“It usually turns out to be sort of a voluntary tax on poor people,” she opined.

Despite the pushback in the Assembly, Miller is optimistic about the bill passing through the Senate.

“I’m hoping that we keep this momentum and we’re able to get it out of the legislature this time,” he said.

If the bill passes the Senate, it would go back to the Assembly in the 2025 legislative session, then back to the Senate again. If it passes through both chambers, it then goes on the ballot for Nevada voters in 2026. If voters pass the measure, the bill would take effect immediately -- opening the door for the legislature to officially set up a lottery in Nevada.