Nevada lottery plan advances |

Nevada lottery plan advances

CATHY BUSSEWITZ / Associated Press

The Nevada Assembly voted Wednesday for a lottery in the nation’s No. 1 gambling state, despite arguments that it would compete with slot machines and other games of chance.

AJR7 is the latest version of a plan that since the 1970s has failed about two dozen times to win legislative approval. The measure advanced on a 31-11 vote and now moves to the Senate.

The plan would have to be approved by lawmakers this year and again in 2011 and then go to a public vote.

“It’s time to have the people in Nevada decide whether or not they want a lottery,” said Assemblyman Paul Aizley, D-Las Vegas, the sponsor of the plan.

Opponents included Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, who said, “If there was ever a time for a lottery, I would say this is not the time. Our gaming industries in this state our hemorrhaging.”

“They’re such a large industry in this state, and I would hate to cannibalize them.”

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Assemblywoman Kathy McClain, D-Las Vegas, said polls show that 70 percent of the public supports the idea of a state lottery.

Lotteries are operated in all but eight states now, and experts on such games estimate that Americans spent $57 billion on lottery tickets in 2006 alone ” with no more than 2 percent of any of the ticket sales going into any state’s coffers. The rest of the money went to pay for prizes and other expenses.

“We’ve heard over and over … that the most lucrative place that California sells their lottery tickets is on the Nevada border,” said Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce,

D-Las Vegas.

“I have a lottery ticket in my pocket,” she said, adding, “Wish me luck tonight.”