Pine Belt lawmaker: no chance for lottery this session

Pine Belt lawmaker: no chance for lottery this session

MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - A Pine Belt lawmaker said the Mississippi legislature wont approve a state lottery this session, despite Gov. Phil Bryant saying he'd like legislators to consider it.

"I just don't see the lottery happening for us," said Rep. Larry Byrd, R-Petal. "Louisiana's getting about $110 million, and we're not. And it's not going to happen this session. The governor's kind of said he would favor it — he wouldn't be opposed to it — but it's not going to happen."

Bryant is the first governor in about 30 years to openly consider the lottery in Mississippi.

"When we see traffic crowded on the Mississippi River Bridge taking revenue to our neighboring state, it may be time to face a new reality," Bryant said during his state of the state address in January. "We can no longer contain the people's desire for a lottery. We can only force them to travel."

Bryant has had to cut the state budget three times, totaling about $150 million, since the fiscal year started on July 1 because state revenue projections have fallen short.

"When you're looking at some of the challenges that we're having and you see a revenue bill that would generate somewhere between 50 and 60 million dollars — just an estimate — I think that's something that needs to be taken seriously by the members of both the House and the Senate," Bryant told The Associated Press in February.