The Kansas bill that sought to grant vending machines the right to sell lottery tickets in the state has been vetoed by the state’s governor. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback decided to reject the bill stating that gambling expansion in the state would hurt the poorest segments the most.
In a statement Gov. Brownback said,
The Kansas Lottery has a disproportionately negative effect on low-income Kansans. Rather than investing limited resources in games of chance, our goal is to help low income Kansans find a path to self-reliance and independence through education, work, and savings. The state should not encourage behaviour that undermines our efforts to encourage upward economic mobility and long term financial security and thrift.
If House Bill 2313 was approved, the Kansas Lottery would have introduced close to 300 lottery ticket machines in retail locations across the state. The new revenue stream was expected to generate significant funds for the government. Under the provisions of the bill, there would be a maximum of $4 million in the current fiscal year and up to $8 million in subsequent years that would go towards maintaining mental health facilities from the collected tax revenue.
Receiving bipartisan support, the bill was passed with a high level of backing in both legislative houses. The House voted 98-19 while the Senate voted 34-4. Lottery officials have been pushing for ticket sales via vending machines highlighting that it could increase revenue by up to $30 million and result in the state receiving an additional $8 to $10 million each year.
For the year ending June 2016, the state’s general fund received $78 million from the state lottery. Kansas Lottery has seen record sales in the previous fiscal year with net sales reaching $273 million. Brownback has not been in favour of expanding gambling and has consistently pushed back on such measures.
Lottery Director Terry Presta said that he was disappointed but respected the decision. He said that the lottery would continue to introduce innovative ways to bring more excitement for its players
Brownback stated that he had held multiple conversations with lottery officials on the proposal and had expressed his opposition to the plan but had still agreed to review the bill as that was the normal process. House Majority Leader Don Hineman noted that it wasn’t clear how much support would an override measure receive with respect to the lottery bill.