The Texas Lottery has long been a target for conservative lawmakers.
Lawmakers and Texans alike green-lighted the lottery in the early 1990s, hoping to generate revenue as the state faced a huge budget shortfall.
Since the Texas Lottery began, $25 billion has been generated in revenue for the state, including more than $20 billion for Texas public education and more than $77 million for Texas veterans, lottery records show.
This session, proposed cuts to the Lottery Commission’s budget have officials worried that ticket sales could drop as a result, which means less money would be given back to the state.
THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE WRAPS UP BUSINESS MAY 29.
At issue is a proposed $18 million reduction to the lottery budget in the Senate and a proposed $6 million cut in the House over the next two years. Both chambers have passed budgets, which now will be hammered out in a conference committee where lawmakers will craft a final version.
Lottery officials say the Senate’s proposed cuts in advertising, marketing and promotions could bring a loss of about $108 million in revenue to the Foundation School Fund, and the House’s cuts could reduce revenue to the school fund by $20 million.
“The Legislature should de-criminalize or legalize all gaming because the state of Texas is in the gaming industry with the lottery,” said Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. “The state urges us to play the lottery but no casinos, fantasy sports, etc.
“The lottery is a complete game of chance and that standard is used to deprive citizens of other gaming opportunities,” he said. “I believe that what is stopping the passage of other gaming is the lobbying from other states/casinos etc. that simply do not want competition.”
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