No Lottery This Year


Rep. Willie Bailey, D-Greenville, supports a controversial state-run lottery to help finance education.

A bill paving the way for a state-run lottery to support education died in committee this week, despite growing popularity. House Gaming Committee Chairman Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, held the last Gaming Committee meeting on Monday without taking up House Bill 337, and scheduled no Tuesday committee meeting.

The bill would have created a statewide special election wherein voters could approve the possibility of a state lottery as a form of legalized gaming. Legislators annually submit bills for a lottery supporting education, but none ever survive committee chairmen.

Lottery supporter John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, told the Gaming Committee on Monday that lotteries in other states are making big money for their respective programs.

A 2009 estimate from the South Carolina Budget and Control Board's Web site reveals the South Carolina General Assembly appropriated more than $2.2 billion in net lottery proceeds toward programs for higher education, K-12, and community education initiatives for the past eight years. Fiscal years 2007 and 2008 revenues from the state of California shows the state lottery there generated $1.1 billion for public education—about $132 per pupil.

Still, Moak was unwilling to commit to bringing the bill up for a vote before the general committee on Monday. "I'm not sure the Senate would touch it," Moak told the sub-committee. "And with the governor against it, you're swimming upstream."


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