Why Don’t All U.S. States Have Lotteries?


There are currently 51 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada with lotteries. You might ask, why aren’t ALL of U.S. states using lotteries as a way of legitimately raising money for their pet beneficiaries?

The answer, of course, is that some very powerful lobbying groups are anti-lottery, anti-gambling. Case in point, Arkansas. This is a state that has flirted with starting a lottery for years. Same thing happened in North Carolina…prior to their getting a lottery.

What these states had in common is a strong anti-lottery lobby. In Arkansas, a state where the governor wants a lottery to help fund education, there is a strong group opposing a state-run lottery. And last week, they asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to throw the proposal off this fall’s ballot.

The Arkansas Family Council argued in a petition filed with the state’s highest court that the proposed constitutional amendment’s title and name should be found “inaccurate, incomplete and misleading” because they don’t define lotteries and doesn’t warn voters of potential consequences of authorizing a state-run lottery.

The ballot measure, if approved, would repeal the state constitution’s ban on lotteries and the council says that repeal would allow casinos in the state.

Arkansas is one of eight states without a lottery.

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter has proposed establishing a state-run game and dedicating its proceeds to college scholarships. Halter estimates the lottery will bring in $100 million annually.

Arkansas voters have twice before rejected lotteries, but earlier proposals tied them in with casinos.

This is the latest example of what a group, the Family Council, can do to impose its will upon the entire state, in this case Arkansas.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who approved the language of the ballot title, has said he believed the proposed amendment would withstand any court challenge.

Halter has said limiting the definition of a lottery would have muddled the state’s constitution and said he would be opposed to trying to add video lottery terminals in the state. He’s also said he doubts that lawmakers would support allowing such machines in the state.

My take on the whole issue: Arkansans should have the right to vote on the issue. Let’s face it, those who want to play lotteries take their money to Texas or other adjacent lottery states. And guess who gets their money? Those other states. Isn’t this country supposed to be about people voting on the issues? I am not against religious groups. Not at all, and they have every right to make their views public. But I am against these groups preventing me from voting on an issue.

The Lottery Guy takes that position. What do you think?

In the Money:

Tonight’s Mega Millions drawing is worth $24 million.

Saturday night’s Powerball game is the big one, however. At $200 million, it is the highest jackpot currently in play in the world. It is also the 16th largest Powerball jackpot ever offered.

Good luck. I’ll be playing as well. Let me know how you did.

By the Numbers:

Here are the Top Ten Jackpots in the World, as of last night, 9/25. The number 2 jackpot may have had a recent winner. I am trying to find out results.

1. $200 Million, Powerball
2. 130 Million Euros, Euro Millions
3. $31 Million, California, SuperLotto Plus
4. $24 Million, Mega Millions
5. $23 Million, Canada Lotto 6/49
6. $13.8 Million, UK National Lotto 6/49
7. $12 Million, Texas Lotto Texas
8. $9.6 Million, Colorado Lotto
9. $7.7 Million, Tennessee Lotto Plus
10. $7.6 Million, Oregon Megabucks

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Married to a beautiful (and extremely intelligent--- smarter than I am) South African woman. One child (brilliant). I've written three books, only one now available. Editor in chief of magazines...former managing editor .... news reporter, magazine writer, joker, sometimes a fool, lottery expert, lover of old, classic movies, music fanatic, Science Fiction fan (Warhammer 40,000, Game of Thrones). Goal for next year: Walk the Camino de Santiago. Into metaphysics, Esther Hicks (Abraham), Louise Hay


  1. It’s a shame that instead of lotteries with HUGE pay-outs with incredible odds against winning that the “powers that be” have a larger amount of winners with smaller winnings.

    Imagine how many more folks could be assisted in life if there was numerous winners of, let’s say, $250,000 after taxes.

    Folks could buy homes, send kids to college, buy health insurance for a few months if their job doesn’t offer it…

    and that money would likely be spent locally, assisting others in the area.

    The present system is designed to actually assist governmental bureaucracies.

    Alter the current methods used and perhaps there would be more acceptance of lotteries.

  2. Obbop: I agree with you completely. All I can say is the folks at the Multi-State Lottery who run Powerball have a formula. Their goal is to have big jackpots because that is what their players want. The more people who play, the more money goes back to the participating states, and that is the bottom line. Incidentally, the Powerball payout rules change as of Jan. 1, when Florida joins the group of 31. Starting then (and I’ll post a blog about it), the match five winner will take home an automatic $1 million.

    Bottom line, though..is, I agree with you.


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