Freed says Powerball may be voted on this month

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(Host) House Speaker Walter Freed says it’s likely that legislation authorizing Vermont to join the national Powerball game will be put on a fast track in the House this month.

Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Freed said backers of Powerball want to attach it to this year’s supplemental budget bill; that legislation is expected to pass by Town Meeting Day. This step would be taken because lottery officials estimate that it will take several months to get Powerball up and operating in Vermont.

If the bill passes in the next few weeks, then it’s likely that the game will be generating new revenue when the next fiscal year begins in July:

(Freed) “And the only reason for that is just to get it started earlier. If you’re going to do it at all, it does add more revenue by starting it earlier.”

(Host) Freed says he believes it makes sense for Vermont to join with the other Powerball states:

(Freed) “I think if you’re going to have a lottery, it’s hypocritical to say that Vermont needs its lottery when we get $14 or $15 million off of it that goes to the Education Fund, then to turn around and say, ‘But we shouldn’t have Powerball as one of those types of lottery products.’ The bottom line is that, if that’s what the people who buy lottery tickets want – they want Powerball. They don’t want the things that we have. And because of that we see declining revenues from our lottery sales and our neighboring states see increasing revenues.”

(Host) The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to give its support to the Powerball bill later this week.

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