If the two chambers can't agree on lottery by Monday, dreams of Powerball go away -- along with the Texas Lottery Commission and all its games. The House and Senate versions of Senate Bill 270 both continue the commission for the next 12 years, but the big difference is that the Senate did not include Powerball and did not pass provisions tightening up the regulation of bingo as the House did.
House Ways and Means Chairman Ron Wilson, D-Houston, said he doesn't expect the Senate to concur with the House's version of the lottery sunset bill, meaning the two sides must beat the clock or risk busting a balanced budget. If that happens, the odds of a special summer session are extremely high.
Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, said he hasn't decided whether to agree with the House yet, but he said Powerball wasn't the problem. "I'm more worried about the bad bingo language," he said.
The revenue expected from Powerball -- an extra $101 million -- also has been spent in the budget bill.
The House would toughen the state's regulation of charitable bingo games by requiring bingo money handlers to pay $25 a year for a state license. About $1.2 billion is raised each two-year budget cycle from bingo, but only $60 million goes to charities, Wilson says. The rest of the money is kept by bingo operators and those who lease halls, he says.
The hang-up appeared to be more about those regulations than Powerball.
UPDATE: Amazingly, Powerball is probably dead. I'm frankly shocked that a hangup over regulating charity bingo could derail this.
UPDATE: Powerball lives! Never say never, I guess.Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 31, 2003 to Jackpot! | TrackBack