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No Lottery in Nevada? Why?! – Are Changes On the Horizon?

Las Vegas visitors are often stunned to find that the lottery is strictly prohibited in Nevada. In a state that allows large wagers on what hole a tiny white ball will land in, the lack of a state lottery is perplexing, to say the least.

While protecting the public from shady lottery practices may have been the original intent of the law, today the powerful casino lobby ensures its perpetuation.

Nevada’s Constitution

Lotteries were originally outlawed in the Nevada state constitution which was ratified in 1864. Section 24 of the constitution states “No lottery may be authorized by this State, nor may lottery tickets be sold”.

One small caveat to the prohibition on lotteries is a 1990 rule change that allows for charitable raffles to take place – A far cry from offering Powerball or MegaMillions.

There have been numerous attempts over the years to amend the state constitution to allow a lottery. After all, other states are doing quite a bit of good with money raised from scratch tickets and jackpot drawings like funding environmental initiatives and/or education.

Resort Opposition to a Lottery

The Nevada Resorts Association, however, representing the gaming industry vehemently opposes such a change. They argue that a lottery would pull revenue away from resorts in Nevada that provide jobs to thousands and pay a substantial chunk of the state’s tax dollars. ‘

Essentially, they claim the money to pay for schools and other initiatives is already there. A lottery would only move tax dollars from one source (casinos) to another (the lottery) while creating little, if any, incremental revenue.

Let me (sarcastically) translate the casino/resort stance for you: “We are currently the only show in town if you want to gamble and would prefer minimal competition as we rake profits from games with ever-deteriorating player odds. “

In addition to resort objections, there are also moral concerns raised by others that certainly have merit. For one, a lottery could lead to more problem gambling. Additionally, a lottery is essentially a regressive tax that takes advantage of those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Even if the appetite existed to explore legalizing the lottery, amending the Nevada state constitution is no easy task.

Recent Events Could Lead to a Lottery… Eventually

In a recent twist, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow a lottery was recently passed by Nevada’s legislature, but don’t get your hopes up quite yet.

To actually become law, the measure would need a second round of legislative approval in 2025 before going to a popular vote.

Long story short, there isn’t a lottery in Nevada and there won’t be any time soon.

For the foreseeable future, Las Vegas residents will be forced to drive 45 minutes down I-15 to the Primm Valley Lotto Store found a mere 50-feet across the border in Nipton, California. With them will go countless dollars that could have been invested in Nevada schools.

Of course, there is always the opportunity to chase the Megabucks slot jackpots that are “lottery-like”, however, those specific slot machines come with a notoriously high house edge.

Whether you make the drive to a neighboring state to purchase lottery tickets or stick to casino gaming, we hope you hit it big.

Although the lottery is a long-shot game of chance for players, offering tickets would be a home run for bolstering state revenues here in Nevada. As in other states, that revenue could be put toward great causes. Hopefully, our politicians decide to stop the flow of tax dollars to neighboring states sooner than later.

Related: Where to find Slots more apt to pay out in Las Vegas!

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Gaius Gracchus

Saturday 19th of August 2023

The Nevada Resorts Association is wrong - many of us would never set foot in a casino but would at least occasionally buy a lottery ticket. So they aren't losing our money anyway. Furthermore, casino gamblers would probably spend money at the lotto in addition to whatever they spend the casinos. It is not an 'either-or' situation they way they seem to think.

Clearly the casinos are anti-Nevada and certainly have no one's welfare in mind but their own. Shame on them!

Lotto guy

Sunday 27th of August 2023

@Gaius Gracchus, I very much agree. It's really unfortunate. California has casinos on Indian reservations AND the lottery and still the casinos there are making a lot of money. This the only thing stopping me from moving to Nevada because they don't have the lottery. And if you don't have a car, there's no shuttle or bus that would take you to Primm for the lotto store and back to Vegas. What a shame.


Friday 17th of March 2023

In democracy casino lobby shouldn't have any say, but are living in "democratura" witch much worst then dictatorship, because is run like a mafia style.

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