Nevada Legislature bill to legalize lottery in the state advances

Nevada Legislature holds hearing on bill to allow state lottery
Nevada Legislature holds hearing on bill to allow state lottery(FOX5)
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 4:51 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A bill to amend the Nevada Constitution to allow a state-run lottery was passed by committee and is headed to the floor of the Legislature as of Thursday afternoon.

Despite being known as the gambling and gaming destination in the US, Nevada does not allow non-charity lotteries since achieving statehood in 1864.

Efforts have been made to legalize the lottery here but all have fallen short. AJR 5 is the most recent attempt which has advanced further than any other bill on the issue.

On Thursday, two Nay votes came from Sen. Heidi Seevers-Gansert and Sen. Lisa Krasner.

“I will be a no. We have an industry in this state that is the best in the world and they have invested billions of dollars in bricks and mortar and infrastructure and employ hundreds of thousands of people indirect and direct. So I’m concerned this will deteriorate their industry and I want to make sure we support them,” Gansert said.

“I will also be voting no on AJR 5. As we all know, tourism, gaming, and mining are the largest industries in the state of Nevada and they provide so many jobs to the people of Nevada. We don’t want the brick and mortar establishments have to compete with the lottery and so I will be voting no,” Krasner said, joining in dissent of the bill.

Afterward, Committee Chair Sen. James Ohrenschall maintained his aye vote for the bill.

“I’m going to be supporting AJR 5. I think we’ve certainly heard testimony with concerns from our gambling industry but we also heard testimony that a lot of folks who drive to some of our border communities to buy lottery tickets don’t usually go to gamble,” he said.

The bill passed with three Ayes and two Nays. A future hearing on the floor has not been set.

Should the bill be passed, it would have to be passed again by the 2025 Legislature and would then be put to a vote by state residents to amend the constitution.