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LotteryLegal & Regulatory

Mississippi legislators make u-turn to approve lottery bill

The Mississippi House has passed a bill which will allow the creation of a state lottery, against the opposition of religious groups.

mississipi

This marks a u-turn, as the bill was originally defeated after the House voted 60-54 against, and there was no formal debate on Tuesday.

Some representatives changed their votes to pass the bill, voting 58-54 in favour, and it is reported some changed their vote under pressure from local constituents.

The bill has been pushed by Governor Phil Bryant for more than a year, arguing the state needs the funds to carry out much need improvement to road networks.

The Governor tweeted: “This is a historic day in Mississippi. Lawmakers rose to the occasion and passed the last part of a sustainable infrastructure funding mechanism that will also provide additional money for public education.”

An unlikely partnership between casino operators and religious groups opposed the bill, calling the lottery a “regressive tax” on one of the poorest states in the US. Casino operators were against the implementation of lottery terminals outside of casinos in places like service stations.

Tuesday was the fourth day of a special session called in by Governor Bryant, in a plea to generate more funds for road infrastructure, as more than 400 bridges in the Magnolia state are closed and in desperate need of repair. The state's Department of Transportation says it needs at least $400m extra funding per year just to keep state highways from deteriorating further.

It is expected the lottery will take up to a year to get up and running, and could add up to $40m in the first year and $80m in subsequent years.

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