Nevada lawmakers took an essential bureaucratic step to eventually allow voters to have another try to annul the state’s 159-year-old constitutional lottery ban.
The 12-8 Senate vote means the Nevada lottery bill will get a required second run through the 2025 legislative session. Assembly Joint Resolution 5 (AJR5) would remove the prohibition on state lotteries.
The bill would go to the 2026 general election vote if passed again.
Gaming industry advisor Brendan Bussmann said voters would pass a lottery vote question. According to the Nevada Independent article, Bussmann, who is a managing partner of Las Vegas-based B2 Global, said:
“There is clear popularity for the measure in a gaming state and one that will be hard to starve off by the industry should it make it through the Legislature in 2025.”
Nevada is one of five states that do not allow statewide lottery.
Miller suggests nailing down a lottery structure
Assemblyman C.H. Miller sponsored the constitutional amendment and was satisfied by the Senate’s vote and passage in the Assembly in April. He believes strategies will have to change in 2025.
As reported by Nevada Independent, during a Monday interview at the Legislature, Miller said: “It would be helpful going into the next session if there were some more structure around what [a lottery] could potentially look like.”
Miller suggested that lottery revenue would be directed toward youth mental health programs. But the bill doesn’t mention mental health issues. Miller said: “What’s being considered is if the people of Nevada want to amend their constitution to allow for a lottery.”
California’s two largest lotteries are operated by Nevada companies
Nevada gaming companies run California’s two largest lottery ticket retailers:
- Truckee Gaming’s Gold Ranch Casino & RV Resort in Verdi
- Affinity Gaming, with three casinos in Primm
Although located on the California side of the state line, their primary customers are coming from Nevada.
Miller says Nevada is losing money as a state to other states and should recapture that money toward something beneficial to the Silver State.
AJR5 could potentially change the Nevada lottery’s future
Since 1887, there have been more than two dozen legislative attempts to implement a lottery in Nevada. The last two efforts happened in 2011 and 2015 but never made it out of committee.
AJR5 is now the closest to giving the state legislature the control to create a lottery and allow the selling of lottery tickets. The next step is for the bill to approve the measure this year and in 2025. The bill would then go to the voters in 2026.
Even if voters approve it, the legislature will still have to pass more bills to create and regulate a state lottery.