Nevada Senators Get Look At Lottery Ban Repeal Measure

Written By Derek Helling on April 28, 2023
lottery tickets nevada senate house resolution

Proponents of the creation of a state lottery in Nevada got some good news on Thursday. They don’t have a real reason to celebrate just yet, though.

A resolution giving voters in Nevada an opportunity to decide whether they want a lottery received a hearing in a state Senate committee on Thursday. The hearing was purely informational, however, and many hurdles remain.

Nevada Senate committee takes up lottery resolution

Currently, the Nevada Constitution bans the types of lotteries that many other states offer. House Joint Resolution 5, sponsored by Assemblyman Cameron C.H. Miller, would potentially change that.

AJR 5 would give the state legislature the power to create a lottery. The resolution already has consent from the Nevada Assembly, as members voted 26-15 to approve it on April 17. On Thursday, members of the Nevada Senate Legislative Operations and Elections took on the next step of the process.

According to Taylor R. Avery of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Miller appeared before that committee on Thursday to discuss the resolution. Miller clarified that AJR 5 is not a lottery authorization measure.

“AJR 5 will not create a lottery in Nevada,” Miller stated. “What it will do is give Nevadans the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want a lottery in Nevada.”

The committee took no action on the resolution Thursday. Future hearings might be indicative of the uphill slog to amend the Nevada Constitution in this way.

Lottery resolution still faces multiple obstacles

Miller’s proposal does have some allies. Among those supporting a state lottery are labor unions in Nevada and legislators who see it as a way to increase revenue. The resolution earmarks revenue to support mental health resources.

For as strong as that support could be, though, there is some powerful opposition, too.

Multiple companies that operate casinos in Nevada have already testified against AJR 5. They argued that a lottery represents a threat to their businesses. They also pointed out that casino tax revenue is a major source of funding for the state.

Their opposition could become more spry if AJR 5 continues to progress. As a potential constitutional amendment, the road is arduous.

To amend the state constitution, the legislature must not only approve the measure this year but in 2025 as well. Should that happen, the measure would then go to the voters in 2026. If voters approve AJR 5, then the legislature would still have to pass more bills to actually create and regulate a state lottery.

That leaves plenty of opportunity for casino operators to sway minds. As a powerful lobbying arm with deep pockets, they have all the necessary resources to mount a strong resistance.

The level of support for AJR 5 in the state Senate this year is still unclear. It’s entirely possible that the resolution may have already gone as far as it ever will. Should that prove the case, companies that offer Nevada online poker and other existing gambling opportunities will be content.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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