When you see the Powerball reach that unheard-of number or the Mega Millions hit an all-time high, you can’t help but want in on the action. In America, there are only 5 states that don’t participate in the lottery and for various reasons. Residents that live in those nonparticipating states often travel to neighboring states that do participate. A quick trip and a few tanks of gas are worth it to have their chance at winning the big bucks. Here are the states that say no to the lottery and their reasons for opting out.
The state constitution of Alabama prohibits gambling, for now. It has been rumored that the state has been trying to adopt the lottery and make it legal since 1998. Church’s and religious groups continue to vote against it, which isn’t surprising because Alabama is a major part of the Bible belt. For now, the state still does not participate but is still fighting to change that.
A lot of states use the lottery to help benefit different programs within their state that help further the community and well-being of its citizens. In 2003 there were whisperings that Alaska would introduce a state lottery with the intention of bringing more funding to state programs, but the proposal never made it on the ballot. Alaska doesn’t seem to be hurting for money though, as the state pays their residents to live there with their oil royalties.
Hawaii currently has very strict laws against gambling. If you are caught gambling, you could be charged with a misdemeanor offense. If you are found with winnings of more than $1,000 a day in lottery bet income, you could be facing felony charges. Hawaii seems to be loosening up lately and is considering introducing a state lottery. Politicians are still not crazy about the idea, deeming an in state lottery “unnecessary”. The state does very well as it is thanks to their tourism.
Nevada is home to the fabulous Las Vegas, which is the hub of gambling. So why does Nevada not participate in the lottery? The Casino industry is huge for the state and views the lottery as competition. If lottery tickets are sold at gas stations and convenience stores, people may not be as likely to play the slot machines that are right in the store. The casinos in Nevada are not only filled with tourists from all over the world, but also a ton of locals. By adding the lottery to the mix, casinos could lose a ton of money, especially from the locals.
This conservative state’s constitution also prohibits gambling. Utah is known for its pioneer heritage and is still considered very religious and conservative. About 60% of the state’s population belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which religion discourages its members from participating in gambling. Utah is pretty strict on its gambling laws and holds anyone who solicits, engages, encourages or aids anyone in gambling criminally liable.