During a Senate hearing held this Thursday, many people had the opportunity to share their opinions about proposed legislation that would amend the state Constitution to allow for the legalization of lotteries in Nevada and direct funds toward youth mental health programs.
The media agency KTNV reported that many people supported the legislative effort, explaining that it would attract fresh money flow to the local coffers and keep funding in the state. But Red Rock Resorts clearly expressed its position against the bill, explaining that it would cut into land-based casinos’ revenue.
Arguments For and Against the Resolution that Would Legalize Lotteries in Nevada
This Thursday, the Nevada State Lottery Resolution once again ignited heated debates between proponents and opponents of the bill. Advocates of the bill said that the main intention behind the legalization of the lottery is to keep funding in the state and support youth mental health programs. During the hearing, several people shared their personal stories about their struggle with mental health problems.
A mother from Nevada whose son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder said that the state should allocate more funds to such programs. Ricky Freeman, a Las Vegas Resident, said that the lottery would not harm anyone, especially when considering that most forms of gambling are legal in Nevada. Richard Mapp, another Las Vegas resident, added that the lottery would give people a chance to win quick money. Mahie Stoner, who also lives in Las Vegas, spoke in favor of the legislation, too.
But many casino operators, with Red Rock Resorts at the forefront, opposed the legislation, explaining that it would hurt their brick-and-mortar revenue and investments. At the beginning of the month, the Assembly Committee on Operations and Elections held a discussion, during which gaming company representatives raised their objections against Assembly Joint Resolution 5 (AJR5).
Nick Vassiliades, who spoke on behalf of the Nevada Resort Association, explained that brick-and-mortar casinos not only pay taxes but also create jobs, attract many foreign tourists, and thus support local businesses.
Nevada is One of the Five States without Lotteries
Many people are debating whether the state would benefit from legalizing a lottery, but Senior Reporter Howard Stutz from Nevada Independent is more concerned about how the regulation of the lottery would work.
Section 24 of the Nevada Constitution stipulates that the state is not allowed to authorize the sale of lottery tickets. That is one of the few forms of gambling that is illegal in the state. In mid-March, a joint resolution that would amend the Constitution and legalize lotteries was proposed.
Revenue from the lottery sales would go to fund youth mental health services. Another argument in support of the measure is that many Nevada residents play lottery games despite the ban, and millions of dollars spent on lottery tickets leave the state every year.
If AJR 5 passes, it would require approval from both the 2023 and 2025 legislative sessions, as well as from voters before it could take effect. This is because the measure would amend the state Constitution, which requires a more rigorous process for approval.