House State Affairs rejects international Powerball agreement

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

The House State Affairs Committee rejected a bill that would allow the Idaho Lottery to continue participating in Powerball, potentially affecting millions in funds from Powerball ticket sales that go to schools and the permanent building fund. 

The Multi-State Lottery Association has approved licensing Powerball in Australia and the United Kingdom. Currently, Idaho code does not allow for participation in lottery games outside of the United States and Canada. The bill would have allowed the commission to consider participating in any government-sanctioned game. 

According to Jeff Anderson, Director of the Idaho Lottery, Idaho sees an average $28 million in Powerball sales each year, of which the state keeps half. 

Rep. Rod Furniss, R-Rigby, expressed concern about the committee making a decision that affects $14 million in dedicated funds without input from the rest of the House. “Let them make a decision on it,” Furniss said.

But other members of the committee brought up other concerns about the agreement, including how other countries may spend their revenue from gambling, or the idea of a state-run lottery’s existence in the first place. The odds of winning the Powerball Jackpot are 1 in 292 million.

The committee voted 10-4 to hold the bill.

Each year, the first $37 million in Idaho’s total lottery revenue is split equally between Idaho’s public schools and the permanent building fund. After that, up to 25 percent goes to the bond and levy equalization.

In April, Anderson told the committee that negotiations to add Australia and Britain to Powerball had broken down and won’t happen until at least next year, the Associated Press reported.

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