Assembly is pushing for state lottery

The Assembly voted 29-13 Tuesday to take another shot at a constitutional amendment to allow a state lottery.

The proposed amendment has made it through the Assembly more than once in the past, only to die in the Senate. A lottery is about the only form of gambling prohibited by Nevada's Constitution.

AJR5, sponsored by Harry Mortenson, D-Las Vegas, would dedicate any revenue generated from the lottery to public schools. His dedicates the money to purchases of educational equipment and supplies, including everything from textbooks to computers and art supplies. He said it could generate anywhere from $50 million to $200 million a year.

Minority Leader Garn Mabey, R-Las Vegas, said he opposes the proposed amendment.

"It's a bad idea to promote something that takes a toll on our society," he said.

Mabey said he believes many of those who play the lottery are the working poor.

But Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, said his information is that two-thirds of those who play the lottery earn between $35,000 and $75,000 a year.

"That's not poor people to me," he said. "Well, I make that much."

James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, also opposed the plan.

"I don't believe in enabling people to do something detrimental to them."

Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, reminded the Assembly the resolution doesn't create a lottery in Nevada - that it simply asks the voters if they want to allow a lottery in Nevada.

AJR5 was approved on primarily a party line vote. Three Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting the proposed amendment: John Carpenter, of Elko; Pete Goicoechea, of Eureka; and Francis Allen, of Las Vegas. One Democrat voted against it: Mo Denis, of Las Vegas.

AJR5 goes to the Senate for review.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

What it means

AJR5, approved Tuesday, by the Assembly would ask voters if they want to allow a lottery in Nevada. The Senate must also pass the resolution before it can be placed on the ballot for consideration.


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