Nevada Culinary Union Backs Lottery To Fund Mental Health Services

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on February 17, 2023
culinary union nevada lottery powerball jackpot

Nevada is one of five states without a lottery. However, a new bill filed by state Assembly Democrat Cameron C.H. Miller aims to change that. 

Miller is proposing a state constitutional amendment that would open the door for a lottery to pay for youth mental health services. However, things are easier said than done. Lawmakers must make the necessary constitutional changes this year and again in 2025. If they succeed in both situations, it will go before voters in 2026.  

New fight to create a Nevada Lottery

In a statement from the Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus, Miller wrote:

“The last few years have shown us how critical mental health care is and that our current infrastructure is woefully inadequate. This constitutional amendment authorizing a lottery and dedicating the revenue to funding for youth mental health is a common sense solution that will help the many Nevada youth who are battling mental health challenges, just like I did as a child.”

According to a 2022 UNLV study, Nevada is at the bottom regarding services for mental health care.

While a constitutional change might take time, Miller already has people in his corner. The Culinary Union, which counts thousands of members who work in the state’s gaming and hospitality industries among its members, released a statement simultaneously with the Democratic Assembly Caucus, backing the change. 

In a statement, Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageore said:

“Nevada has an opportunity to create a longterm funding source directed towards mental health capacity building, without increasing taxes on Nevada residents or businesses, through a State Lottery.”

Pappageorge continued:

“As one the largest organization of parents in Nevada, the Culinary Union believes it is imperative that Nevada lawmakers address our mental health care system. The union will be launching a campaign to engage with voters about support for increased youth mental health funding. We look forward to working with Assemblyman Miller on this vital effort.”

Long road ahead

Over the last few decades, efforts to bring a lottery to Nevada have been crushed by the political clout of the gambling industry.

In 2016, Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resorts Association, said a lottery would come at the expense of something else. 

“[A lottery] would take away from the gaming industry’s ability to do what it does best, which is to create new jobs and generate new revenue for the state,” Valentine said. 

As mentioned, Nevada is one of five states without a lottery. The others are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Utah

“Right now, we are sending millions of dollars across the border to neighboring states,” Miller said.

“It is time to fully invest in Nevadans and pass this constitutional amendment.”

Photo by PlayUSA
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

View all posts by Nicholaus Garcia
Privacy Policy