Alabama lottery debate continues as Mega Millions jackpot grows
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabamians felt the lotto fever Friday as the Mega Millions jackpot topped off at $1.2 billion, making it the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history.
Alabama does not have a state lottery program, but that did not stop people from racing to the state lines to play what they believe are their winning numbers.
“The line is wrapped around aisles,” said Elba Solano, a lottery player from Montgomery.
Solano was at a gas station on near Interstate 85 just a few miles from the Georgia state line to purchase her Mega Millions tickets.
She added she would vote for a lottery program in Alabama “for our education system,” saying it would create a better future for the children.
Lawmakers like Alabama Rep. Chip Brown, R-Mobile County, said the lack of a lottery system is causing the state to miss out on millions of dollars that could be put towards education.
“We’re helping to finance education and all types of programs in Florida and Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana,” Brown said.
Brown, among other lawmakers, has introduced a lottery bill in a legislative session, but they have been shot down each time.
Greg Davis, president of Alabama Citizens Action Program, or ALCAP, said the state should remain without a lottery program.
“(The lottery) takes money out of your local economy,” Davis said, “So now your city and your county, they’re missing that money.”
Davis added Alabama has not missed out on any money by not participating in the lottery, saying education in the state has been well funded.
“Instead of buying $100 worth of lottery tickets, go donate $100 to the school in your community,” he said, “They’ll take the money. Or write a check. The school will take the money. That’ll help education.”
Brown mentioned the possibility of another lottery bill being introduced is high, but he wants constituents to make that decision for themselves.
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