Powerball Lottery states
With tonight's Powerball drawing set at a staggering $360 million, jackpot junkies eagerly await the announcement for the winning numbers to see if they beat the odds.
But residents of Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming will have to head out of state to buy a ticket for the chance to cash in on the winning numbers of the third-largest Powerball jackpot of all time. Not only do these seven states not participate in the lottery game, they don't even have state lotteries of their own.
While states like Utah and Hawaii outlaw all gambling of all kinds - be it charitable, commercial, at a racetrack, or on an Indian reservation casino - others just require residents to cross state lines to get their drawings fixes or play at state-approved casinos such as those in Nevada and Mississippi.
Nevada State Gaming Control Board chairman A.G. Burnett told ABC News that Nevada doesn't have a lottery because of a decision in the state legislature made over 50 years ago.
"There was a decision in the state of Nevada as to whether we'd be just a casino-style gaming state or a state that allowed lotteries, " he said. "The legislature put that language in years ago that said, we're just going to be a casino gaming state without a lottery."
As a result, the state bans lotteries with the exception of charitable drawings held by schools, local elks' clubs or boy scouts. Even then, these raffles need to be approved by the gaming control board, said Burnett, who signs off on five to 10 of those requests a month.
Burnett said every few years, there's a proposal to instate a commercial lottery in Nevada, but the rumblings usually die down.
"I think it's the gaming industry that doesn't want to have a lottery, " he said. "That's pretty much the prevailing view even today."
In Alabama, the last time a state lottery was put to a vote was in 1999, when it was defeated despite entreaties that its revenues would help to improve the state's schools, according to The New York Times.
While the economic benefits states without lotteries fail to reap has not been documented, Wyoming's governor signed a bill into law to bring lottery games to the state in March, with revenues from ticket sales to benefit the state.
"We're hopeful it's going to be a profitable venture, " said Wyoming state representative David Zwonitzer, who sponsored the bill, which takes effect July 1.
Zwonitzer said up to $6 million in proceeds from the Wyoming lottery will go to the cities and counties, and anything over that would be allocated to schools.
The concept of introducing a lottery to Wyoming has been toyed with for at least 10 years, Zwonitzer said. In the meantime, residents can flock to Colorado, Idaho and South Dakota to try their luck in winning some of the multistate lottery pots or gamble on the Internet.
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