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Nevada moves one step closer to a state lottery

Updated April 28, 2023 - 10:22 am

CARSON CITY — Nevada could soon see an end to its ban on state lotteries after Senate lawmakers took a second look at the proposed legislation Thursday.

Assembly Joint Resolution 5, which is sponsored by Assemblyman Cameron C.H. Miller, D-North Las Vegas, would amend the Nevada Constitution by repealing a provision which bars the state from operating a lottery or from selling lottery tickets.

“AJR5 will not create a lottery in Nevada,” Miller said during his presentation. What it will do is give Nevadans the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want a lottery in Nevada.”

If passed in this legislative session, it would need to be passed in the next session before being placed on the ballot for voters’ approval in 2026.

The joint resolution was introduced in mid-March and passed on the Assembly floor on a vote of 26-15. Just two Democratic lawmakers, Assembly members Shondra Summers-Armstrong, D-Las Vegas, and David Orentlicher, D-Las, voted against the measure.

But two of the state’s most powerful entities, the Culinary Union and the gaming industry, came out on opposing sides to the issue.

Members of the Culinary Union urged lawmakers to support the legislation, touting it as a way for the state to support youth mental health.

“Sustainable investment in youth mental health is good public policy that is long overdue and implementing a state lottery would allow Nevada to address an ongoing and urgent public health crisis,” said Culinary Union lobbyist Paul Catha.

But representatives from the Nevada Resorts Association, Boyd Gaming Corporation, Meruelo Gaming, among others, opposed the measure and raised concerns that the funds weren’t guaranteed to be used on mental health initiatives.

“Nowhere else is a state as reliant on a single industry for employment for economic development, for economic diversity as Nevada is with gaming,” said Nick Vassiliadis, a lobbyist for the Nevada Resort Association. “The lottery does not add new jobs. The lottery doesn’t add capital investments. The lottery doesn’t add brick and mortar establishments.”

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on Twitter.

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