Montana Becomes the Next Lottery State

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead signed the recently passed lottery bill late yesterday, according to spokesman Renny MacKay.

The bill's passage culminated a 14-year effort by supporters. A lottery bill had never cleared the House and advanced to the Senate prior to this year.

The compromise between the House and Senate versions distributes the first $6 million in annual profit to cities, towns and counties. Further proceeds will flow into the Common School Permanent Land Fund for education.

"This is a good middle ground," House Majority Floor Leader Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, told fellow members. "If you like a lottery, vote for it." The House voted 33-25 in favor of the compromise.

Sen. Bruce Burns, R-Sheridan, pointed out the bill dedicates $200,000 in unclaimed winnings to the Wyoming Department of Health to treat people with gambling addictions. He said the gambling addictions would probably be caused by other forms of gambling than the lottery. People have to wait to find out if they won the lottery so it does not offer instant gratification, he said.

Prior to Tuesday's compromise, the Senate version dedicated all proceeds to the school fund. The House version dedicated all profits to local governments.

"This is reasonable compromise," Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, said.

The Senate adopted the changes, 17-13.

The bill has a sunset date which requires legislators to evaluate the program in six years and decide if should continue.

The bill's sponsors have said repeatedly they have no firm estimate of how much money the lottery will raise but some put forth a $6 million per year estimate is based on North Dakota's lottery.
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There was no Powerball jackpot winner last night which puts next Saturday’s jackpot well over $200 Million. Mega Millions is at its starting point due to a winner in Ohio last Tuesday.

$216,000,000 est
Cash Option:$132,800,000

$12,000,000 est
Cash Option:$8,700,000