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300 Years of Winners, Losers in State's Lottery-History Exhibit

6 October 2003

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island -- As reported by the Providence Journal: `` Scandal strikes the lottery system; a former politician who's a mathematician argues passionately that lotteries should be banned; the General Assembly holds hearings.

``The scenario sounds like the state lottery of today: Lincoln Park's executive director and the CEO of Lincoln's parent company stand indicted for allegedly trying to bribe the law firm of the former speaker of the House. Rodney Driver, a former state representative and mathematics professor, argues to anyone who will listen that lotteries are bad public policy that impoverish people.

``The details and characters differ, but the whole scene has played itself out before. In the 1840s, lottery scandals throughout New England gave momentum to a movement to abolish lotteries, with former Providence Mayor Thomas A. Doyle, who fancied himself a mathematician, leading the charge.

``A small exhibit called "History of Lotteries and the Lottery System in Rhode Island" lays out the details of Rhode Island's on-again-off-again relationship with lotteries over the past 300 years. The exhibit is on display weekdays through the end of October in the secretary of state's archives division on Westminster Street.

``The chief sponsor of the exhibit is the Rhode Island Lottery Commission, which teamed with collectors Russell DeSimone and Daniel Schofield to create it. The commission has printed posters and published, in pamphlet form, John Russell Bartlett's 1856 newspaper series on the history of Rhode Island lotteries.

``The History of Lotteries and the Lottery System in Rhode Island may be viewed at the secretary of state's archives division on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; on Wednesdays, the office is open until 6:30 p.m…"

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