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States and Their Lotteries

19 August 2011 by admin

mega-millions-lottery-3bbce3d10a357103_largeGambling is kind of a complicated issue in the United States. At the federal level, there is no regulation of any kind, aside from a law (Wire Act) outlawing sports betting by phone or Internet and a law (UIGEA) banning banks from processing unlawful gambling transactions. Some states, such as Nevada and New Jersey, have large casino industries. Other states only allow tribal casinos. Some states don’t allow any. Almost every state allows the lottery, though.

Of the 50 states, only Hawaii, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont do not allow some form of non-lottery gambling, such as state casinos, tribal casinos, or pari-mutuel facilities. Of those states, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont all have a state lottery. Only Hawaii and Utah don’t allow any form of gambling.

At those other states, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont, the state can run its own gambling game, but no other gambling is allowed. That makes it difficult to make the argument that other gambling isn’t allowed because it’s dangerous for players, leads to addiction and all of that. After all, playing the lottery can lead to addiction. Also, most games in any state lottery have worse odds than any casino game, which means the players don’t have as good of a chance of making money as playing at a casino.

So why would a state outlaw all other forms of gambling but allow the lottery? That depends on who you ask, but since the lottery is run by the state and the state makes money off of it, they might just not want the competition. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently said that the state needs to crack down on illegal Internet gambling cafés because they are taking customers away from the lottery. While that serves selfish interests, it should be noted that the lottery also helps fund Georgia’s HOPE Scholarships. Most state lotteries are used to fund education or other necessary programs.

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