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Idaho nixes Powerball lottery over foreign inclusion

Idaho nixes Powerball lottery over foreign inclusion
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Idaho did away with its Powerball lottery on Wednesday after a proposal to allow other countries to participate.

Idaho’s House State Affairs Committee shot down legislation that would have changed Idaho’s current law that only allows lotteries in their state played by those from the U.S. and Canada, the Associated Press reported.

Powerball is expanding and letting those in Britain and Australia play, which would make selling Powerball lottery tickets illegal by Idaho law. The legislation was meant to nix the law so the state could continue selling Powerball lottery tickets.

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The legislation was voted down 10-4 with Republicans and Democrats wary of allowing other countries into the fold. 

Idaho Lottery officials argue that this could hurt state revenue and affect the amount of money the school system in Idaho would receive, which draws from the lottery.

Powerball lottery tickets give the state $28 million in sales and $14 million of the money made from those sales go to schools.

“My concern is the delegation of authority, and essentially turning over our sovereignty to this Multi-State Lottery Association,” Democratic Rep. Chris Mathias said. “I think we should be concerned that they could be persuaded, they could be lobbied heavily by countries that we are not particularly friendly with.”

Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho Lottery, tried to tell lawmakers before the vote that countries like China won’t ever join the Powerball lottery, according to the Associated Press.

“What we’ve got is 32 years of Idahoans being able to participate voluntarily in a lottery game of their choice,” Anderson said after the legislation was struck down. “Thirty-two years it’s been OK, now it’s not. It’s very troubling.”

The last Powerball drawing will occur in August.