Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn says he will appoint a committee to study the pros and cons of creating a state lottery.
The Republican from Clinton is a leader in his Baptist church and has long opposed the expansion of gambling in Mississippi, including a lottery. But on Thursday, Gunn told reporters that he wants to see numbers evaluating how a lottery could affect Mississippi’s economy.
“I’m open to looking at it. I do not think it’s going to be the golden egg that everybody thinks that it is,” Gunn said during a news conference a day after the 2017 legislative session ended.
Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several proposals to create one in Mississippi have died the past two decades, usually with little or no debate.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant asked lawmakers this year to consider a lottery as a way to generate revenue because state tax collections have been lagging. He said Mississippi is losing money because residents are driving to other states to buy lottery tickets.