The lottery “sucks,” according to one Democrat state lawmaker.
During a recent meeting of the Texas House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures, members considered a bill that would expand the Texas Lottery’s ability to enter into advertising agreements.
When Ryan Mindell, the operations director of the Texas Lottery Commission, offered testimony on the bill, Democrat State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (Houston) took the commission to task for its failures.
“Let me tell you something, the lottery sucks. I’m telling you, it sucks. Because people can’t even win any money. That’s why the lottery don’t make any money,” said Thompson.
“People are not going to keep playing if they can’t win any money,” she added.
Thompson, who served in the legislature in 1991 when the constitutional amendment creating the Texas Lottery was originally passed by the legislature, said promises made then about the amount of money the lottery would generate for public education were overblown:
We’re supposed to be generating money. When we passed this bill under Gov. Richards, we told the people of this state, ‘Don’t you worry about having to pay any more taxes. Oh no, this is going to generate enough money to take care of school finance. We’re going to have plenty of money.’ We were going to have money hand over fist.
Since then, the lottery’s share of state public education funding has shrunk to single-digit percentages.
“Don’t get the scratch-offs. Oh no,” exclaimed Thompson. “You can scratch until your nails turn black underneath and you’re not going to even win a dollar.”
She warned members against playing Pick Three and Mega Ball, as well.
“It’s mega, alright,” explained Thompson. “Mega money coming out of your pocket.”
“Now you want us to help you advertise to take more money,” she added, before declaring she was unsure if she supported the legislation.
Proposals to reform or end the Texas Lottery have long been some of the most contentious battles in the legislature. Several proposals to do away with dollars appropriated for advertising by the commission were filed again this session, but were largely hushed when lawmakers decided to move them to Article 11 of the Texas House budget last week.