It’s gonna take a lotto luck

Long before I came to the Pine Belt, my family and I called Ohio home. When we arrived there in 1983, it was home to a state lottery. It still is.

If you ever wondered how a lottery helped school systems elsewhere — particularly my former neighborhoods in and near Dayton, Ohio — here’s your answer. Not much. In the eight years between our arrival and our departure for Mississippi, the schools in and near Dayton still put levies and bond issues up for votes.

About two years before we left, there was this admission from the Ohio Lottery’s then director…

…okay, it’s an episode from a short-lived revival of the classic word search quiz show “Now You See It”. At the 6:37 mark, you’ll see the start of a 30-second commercial for the Ohio Lottery from 1989. The leader clearly states the lottery doesn’t do a lot financially for the school systems of Ohio. If anyone ever tells you how a lottery would do wonders for Mississippi’s school systems, please take it all with a grain of salt.

Yes, in the here and now, it would be tough to see our friends and neighbors leave Mississippi and go on day trips, perhaps even mini-vacations, to states with lotteries when certain jackpots reach leviathan levels. But, considering the odds of winning any prize much less the jackpot, most of the money they’d take with them would most likely be added to fund prizes. And, yes, tourism out of state might see a slight bump thanks to our friends and neighbors dreaming of winning that leviathan jackpot. But the residual effects really wouldn’t extend much beyond that.

If a lottery bill comes up this legislative session, or any time after this year, my sincere hope is that the legislature will vote in the negative.

I lived in a lottery state. The lottery didn’t help the schools in Ohio. I can’t see how a lottery would help our schools here.

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