A new committee has been formed in the state of Mississippi that will work to study the lottery, taking a look at neighboring states that offer lottery gaming and see how they fare with the operation of the activity. Richard Bennett is the chairman of the committee that has nine total members and was formed by House Speaker Philip Gunn. Bennett stated during a meeting this past Thursday that the committee will not be making a recommendation on whether the state should or should not offer lottery gaming but if it does happen, they want it to be done right.
The new lottery study committee met on Thursday for their first public meeting which lasted only around 30 minutes. A large crowd of people were on-hand to see what the committee members had to say. Bennett stated that the members of the committee will be visiting such states as Louisiana and Arkansas to gather information on lottery gaming. Such topics that will be covered include economic issues, social and operational issues.
According to Bennett, the goal of the committee is to gather facts and not make recommendations. The information gathered will be provided for the legislative session for 2018 which begins in early January. Within the past year, momentum has been growing in regards to lottery gaming for the state. In the past, Governor Phil Bryant was opposed to lottery gaming but he is now showing support.
During the 2016 legislative sessions, the House actually approved amendments on bills involving the lottery on two different occasions but the proposals eventually died out. If the state does decide to enact legislation that will allow lottery gaming, officials will have to determine the types of games that will be offered as well as where the revenues will go and what group will be in charge of lottery regulations.
Some information was provided during the meeting in regards to lottery gaming in neighboring states including how much particular states were able to generate in revenues after the prizes and expenses were paid in 2016. The revenue that Mississippi could expect has been compared to Arkansas, a state that earned $85.2 million for the 2016 fiscal year.
Any push for lottery gaming is sure to come up against some opposition. In Mississippi, it seems economic and religious views remain the top reasons why the lottery is opposed by residents of the state. Interestingly enough, Gunn, the Republican House Speaker who created the study group, is actually opposed to the lottery, but does want to see how the activity works in other states.