Possibility of Mississippi lottery worries Arkansas lottery officials

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) -- Arkansas lottery officials are keeping a nervous eye on Mississippi as that state's legislators prepare to consider creating a state lottery.

Officials say they don't want to lose the revenue the lottery now receives from Mississippi residents who cross the state line to play Arkansas' lottery, especially at a time when lottery revenues are already in decline.

Of the six states surrounding Arkansas, only Mississippi does not have a lottery. In 1992, a proposal to remove a lottery ban from the Mississippi Constitution was approved by 53 percent of voters, but to date the state's lawmakers have not passed legislation to create a lottery.

The chairman of Mississippi's House Gaming Committee has said he will hold fact-finding hearings on the subject of a state lottery in advance of the legislative session that begins Jan. 8, and at least one Mississippi lawmaker has announced plans to file a lottery bill.

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