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Here comes Powerball

Powerball will come to Texas as soon as January 31 after a unanimous vote approving sales of its tickets by the Texas Lottery Commission.

“What the Legislature has charged us to do is to raise revenue, and this is going to increase the amount that we can send to the education fund by $35 million,” Commissioner J. Winston Krause said after the panel unanimously approved a rule to allow the game in Texas. “That’s good for the schoolchildren of Texas, and it gives additional entertainment options for the public.”

The lottery contributed $1 billion to the Foundation School Fund, which helps fund public schools in Texas, in fiscal 2009, according to the commission.

Lottery watchdog Dawn Nettles, however, bemoaned the addition of the game.

“I think it’s awful, simply because it’s a game that people … most likely will not win, and they will be throwing away more money chasing a dream that won’t come true,” said Nettles, who owns the Lotto Report Web site.

Nettles expressed those same reservations back in November when the Commission gave initial approval to Powerball. As I said at the time, I think it’s more likely to cannibalize existing Lotto sales than to bring in a lot of new revenue, though the novelty factor may give it a boost at first. But we’ll see. I know I don’t ever expect to buy a Powerball ticket, but are any of you salivating to do so? Leave a comment and let me know.

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