Anti-Gambling Lawmaker Wants Voters to Abolish State Lottery


Posted: October 6, 2014

Updated: June 4, 2017

The Missouri State Lottery is an important source of funding for the state’s education system, but legislator John Diehl would like to see it abolished.

Missouri House majority leader John Diehl is calling for a statewide referendum aimed at abolishing the state lottery, which is currently used to fund the Missouri public education system. American gambling laws allow states to self-regulate their gambling markets, and historically Missouri has been one of most casino-friendly states in the union.

John Diehl - GamingZion

Missouri House majority leader John Diehl

Diehl called the lottery an “unstable” and “inefficient” source of funding, and told reporters that “I think we should let the voters have a say in whether or not our commitment to public education should be left to the whims of collecting gambling revenue… The lottery, at the end of the day, is government-run gambling, and it’s been inefficient.”

Schools not getting a sufficient cut of lottery revenues

The Missouri State Lottery made gambling news by raking in a record $1.16 billion in revenue during the fiscal year ending on June 30, but the percentage of revenue going to the state’s education fund dropped to 23.1 percent from 25 percent the previous year.

Diehl’s proposal seems unproductive however, as reforming the lottery would certainly be a more viable solution than abolishing it altogether. Despite inefficiencies in allocation, the lottery did provide $267 million in funding to schools last year. If the lottery was abolished the state would need to make up the difference by raising taxes or cutting funding to other programs, both of which would create new problems.

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