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Arizona Voters to Decide Lottery's Fate Again

26 August 2002

ARIZONA – As reported by the Arizona Republic: "For the second time in four years, voters are being asked to decide the fate of the Arizona Lottery.

"Unlike 1998, when then-House Speaker Jeff Groscost led an unsuccessful charge to scuttle the lottery, Proposition 301 registers barely a blip on the political radar screen. The ballot measure has no organized opposition.

"…However, Prop. 301, which extends the lottery until July 2012 rather than let it expire next June, has been overshadowed, politically speaking, by three measures on the Nov. 5 ballot that address the future of Indian gaming.

"Lottery supporters are relieved that other gaming measures have the spotlight. The relative calm, they said, allows them to explain how the lottery operates and who benefits from it.

"…Since its inception, the lottery has generated revenue of $4.1 billion, paid more than $2.7 billion in prizes and distributed $1.4 billion to state and local programs.

"In fiscal year 2002, which ended June 30, the lottery distributed $86.8 million for public purposes.

"The state does not have any alternative means for generating those funds if the lottery ceases.

"…To help deal with the state's budget crisis, the Legislature raised the lottery's General Fund contribution by $10 million, to $33.5 million.

"In turn, that shrank the lottery's distribution to another beneficiary, the Mass Transit Fund…"

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