Lottery panel hears mostly cons in final meeting

The main pro of a state lottery, the panel has heard over the past few months, is that it would net the state an estimated $80 million to upwards of $100 million.

But State Economist Darrin Webb told the panel that while a lottery would help fill state coffers, “It would create a slight decrease in total economic activity within the state.” He said lottery sales would largely come from a reduction in existing economic activity and there would be “leakages” due to the state’s contribution to multi-state lottery payouts and costs of operations.

Webb estimated a lottery would bring $101.4 million to $116 million to the state general fund, offset by a decline in retail sales tax collections of $18.8 million to $22.2 million. While this would be a net gain for state government, Webb said economic research is fairly clear that a lottery would bring a decrease in retail sales, which would reduce employment, income and gross domestic product over time.

Clarion Ledger