Lottery tickets could be sold through vending machines under a bill considered Feb. 28 by the General Affairs Committee.
Lincoln Sen. Eliot Bostar said he introduced LB1268 to bring Nebraska in line with other states. Forty-two of the 45 states that have a state lottery allow tickets to be sold in vending machines, he said.
“Lottery machines are stand-alone and secure. They are age-controlled and require a valid driver’s license with a bar code to be scanned to verify the purchaser’s age,” Bostar said.
Rich Otto, testifying on behalf of the Nebraska Retail Federation and the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association, spoke in support of the bill, saying it would lessen the burden on staff at retail outlets and make transactions easier for customers.
Mike Baumgartner, director for Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, also testified in support of LB1268. He said Nebraska’s Community College Gap Assistance Program receives between $11 million and $13 million a year in lottery proceeds — money that is used to fund scholarships for lower-income Nebraskans. Allowing lottery vending machines would generate an estimated additional $250,000 for the program, Baumgartner said.
“Lottery funds are very important to addressing college affordability in Nebraska,” he said.
Pat Loontjer of Gambling With the Good Life testified in opposition to the bill. She said lottery vending machines would expand gambling in Nebraska.
“When they talk about increased revenue, they’re talking about money that is going to be lost by families and children,” Loontjer said.
Nate Grasz of the Nebraska Family Alliance also spoke in opposition, saying low-income Nebraskan’s would be hurt most by the increased ease of buying lottery tickets.
“The lottery loves poverty,” Grasz said. “The poorest third of Americans buy more than half of all lottery tickets, which is why states advertise so aggressively in poor neighborhoods.”
The committee took no immediate action on LB1268.