Nevadans still forced to head to the state border for lottery tickets

LAS VEGAS - The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots combined reached $1 billion Friday, but if you're in Nevada, you'll have to go out of state to buy a ticket.

Nevada is only one of five states without a lottery system. That's why Nevadans often flock to California or Arizona to buy tickets.

Americans spend more than $70 billion a year on lotteries.

The ever-growing, record Powerball jackpot has caught the country by storm and thousands are heading to places to where they can buy the tickets.

"I got lucky, I hope," said Laurel Arrington who purchased a ticket.

Although Las Vegas is synonymous with gambling, lotteries have never been legal since Nevada became a state in 1864.

"From the start, Nevada was against lotteries, it's very interesting, there was a tolerance of legal gambling, legal gaming in casinos early on," said David Schwartz, director, UNLV Center for Gaming Research.

He says lotteries were seen as corrupt for decades and by the time the stigma was lost, the gaming industry in Las Vegas was well established and competition wasn't welcome.

Over the years, lawmakers have tried to pass a lottery, but it always fails.

The closest attempt was in 2009 when a bill passed the Nevada State Assembly, but not the Nevada State Senate.

Lawmakers did give it one more go in 2015, but the bill failed to make it out of it's initial committee.


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