Mississippi Gaming Industry says paper lottery tickets ok, opposes VLT's

The gaming industry in Mississippi would support a state lottery, only if it were limited to paper tickets. MPB's Mark Rigsby attended the final meeting of the lottery study committee.

It's the first time the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association put its position on a state lottery on the record. Executive Director Larry Gregory says the industry is ok with paper lottery tickets, like Powerball. But the association is strictly opposed to video lottery terminals, or VLT's  Gregory say VLT's would have a negative impact on commercial casinos, jobs, and tourism.

"And it would be hard for you to tell me that people from Oregon or Oklahoma are going to come to the Gulf Coast, or Jackson at that time, or Vicksburg, to play a slot machine at a convenience store. It's strictly convenience gaming."

Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery. William Perkins, spokesman for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, says regardless of how much money a state lottery would bring in, it's a bad idea.

"Just like other vices, like drinking, and other forms of gambling, you can get hooked in such a way that your family suffers and your children suffer. Mississippi Baptists just don't want to see that happen under any conditions."

State Economist Darrin Webb estimates a state lottery would increase general fund revenue between $82 to $94 million. But he warns the money would mostly come from low-income groups, and the state would be asking poor people to make bad financial decisions. Committee Chairman, Republican Richard Bennett, of Biloxi, says the final lottery report should be ready for lawmakers by mid-December.