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Powerball still in limbo

Looks like I may have spoken too soon about Powerball. The House and Senate have not agreed on a bill to authorize it yet, and the clock is ticking.

If the two chambers can’t agree on lottery by Monday, dreams of Powerball go away — along with the Texas Lottery Commission and all its games. The House and Senate versions of Senate Bill 270 both continue the commission for the next 12 years, but the big difference is that the Senate did not include Powerball and did not pass provisions tightening up the regulation of bingo as the House did.

House Ways and Means Chairman Ron Wilson, D-Houston, said he doesn’t expect the Senate to concur with the House’s version of the lottery sunset bill, meaning the two sides must beat the clock or risk busting a balanced budget. If that happens, the odds of a special summer session are extremely high.

Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, said he hasn’t decided whether to agree with the House yet, but he said Powerball wasn’t the problem. “I’m more worried about the bad bingo language,” he said.

[…]

The revenue expected from Powerball — an extra $101 million — also has been spent in the budget bill.

The House would toughen the state’s regulation of charitable bingo games by requiring bingo money handlers to pay $25 a year for a state license. About $1.2 billion is raised each two-year budget cycle from bingo, but only $60 million goes to charities, Wilson says. The rest of the money is kept by bingo operators and those who lease halls, he says.

The hang-up appeared to be more about those regulations than Powerball.

I’m not quite sure what the fuss is, but I can’t help but be reminded of that old bumper sticker: “Support Bingo. Keep Grandma Off The Streets.”

UPDATE: Amazingly, Powerball is probably dead. I’m frankly shocked that a hangup over regulating charity bingo could derail this.

UPDATE: Powerball lives! Never say never, I guess.

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4 Comments

  1. William Hughes says:

    “The House would toughen the state’s regulation of charitable bingo games by requiring bingo money handlers to pay $25 a year for a state license. About $1.2 billion is raised each two-year budget cycle from bingo, but only $60 million goes to charities, Wilson says. The rest of the money is kept by bingo operators and those who lease halls, he says.”

    $25 for a license is tightening up the law? How about charging a 1% fee on the gross, and raising the minimum amount that goes to charity? 5% of the gross is simply too low.

  2. William Hughes says:

    I have seen what happens when the elderly are let loose on the street. You can find out for yourselves at:

    http://www.geocities.com/bgm_online/2001/nov/posse.html

    Keep Bingo alive in Texas.

  3. precinct1233 says:

    Or, the alternative explanation is that this is payback to Mr. Wilson for supporting DeLay’s redistricting plan?

  4. I don’t think support for DeLay had anything to do with this, Precinct1233. From the latest reports I’ve seen in the Chronicle, it was ordinary anti-gambling interests.