We ask the Legislature to pass a lottery bill today

We hope that after a night of contemplation, the members of the House who voted against a lottery will this afternoon reverse course.

We believe that is what the majority of the people want. And the state desperately needs money.

We have heard the arguments of some. We, too, wish that there was ironclad language in the bill that would direct some of the proceeds to early childhood education, an investment that has paid dividends. And we’d like to see some of the money used to buy classroom supplies.

Underpaid teachers having to buy classroom supplies ought to be a scandal in a state that claims to value education as much as we do.

We have supported the lottery in the past and our view hasn’t changed. A lottery isn’t the best way to raise money for state government.

A lottery ticket is not a wise use of your money. It’s not even a decent bet. It is one of the longest of long shots.

But, people are going to play. And now, they are driving to other states to do it, and that’s money that should be spent in Mississippi for better roads and an improved education system.

Voting no only ensures that education will get none of the money. Voting yes at least a fighting chance of sharing in the lottery proceeds.

And it appears that some representatives voted no because the bill would not leave the door open for the misnamed video lottery terminals. Those have nothing to do with a lottery, they are gambling machines pure and simple. And it would be unfair to entertain the chance that those machines could proliferate across our states, as they have in fact proliferated in other states.

That would be unfair to the casino industry, which has invested a fortune in hotels, golf courses and other amenities that enhance our visitors’ experience and keep them coming back.

To risk that on video gaming would be a sucker’s bet.

Please pass the lottery.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.