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Idaho lawmakers are ending Powerball for fear of foreign involvement

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Idaho lawmakers, fearing foreign involvement in the Powerball lottery, on Wednesday killed legislation that would allow them to continue playing giant jackpots after more than 30 years in the state.

The move came after Idaho lottery officials tried to change state legislation as the Powerball expanded to include Australia in 2021 and Britain in 2022. But Idaho’s current law only allows lotteries in the state where people in the United States and Canada play.

Idaho’s Republican-dominated legislature, but Democrats also objected to the change. The assassination of the bill by a vote of the state House Appropriations Committee means the state’s last Powerball draw will be in August.

Republican Rep. Heather Scott was concerned that when Australia joined Powerball, officials could use the proceeds of the government’s coffers to prosecute him.

Scott expressed concern that this could happen “in Australia for anti-tank purposes, which they see as good and we as not.”

Democrat Chris Matthias said the Idaho Powerball was good for business, that the state had spent millions on public education, but feared that more countries might be added to the Powerball list.

“My concern is the delegation of powers, in fact, the transfer of our sovereignty to this multinational lottery state,” he said. “I think we need to make sure that they can make sure that they can lobby a lot for countries that we are not particularly friendly with.”

Idaho lottery officials say the game generates about $ 28 million in annual sales in the state, with schools earning about $ 14 million a year.

Idaho was one of the first states to join Powerball in the 1990s. Since then, the lottery has grown to include 45 states, including two in the United States – Washington. The games are run by the Perennial Lottery Association.

The proceeds from the sale of Powerball tickets are in confidence until the winner. The addition of more players from the two new countries is expected to increase the size of the jackpot.

“This is a big jackpot game, so players like to have a big jackpot,” Idaho Lottery Director FF Anderson told lawmakers. “One way to do that is to have more players in the game.”

The biggest winner of the Idaho Powerball was a resident of the small southwestern town of Starr, who won $ 220 million in 2005.

Some Idaho lawmakers said they feared the Idaho resident would be reduced by more players.

But the odds remain the same no matter how many players participate, as the odds are based not on the number of players, but on the odds of choosing certain numbers. If there are multiple winners, the jackpots are split.

Anderson tried to persuade lawmakers to change state law by assuring them that a country like China, with a different legal system from the United States, Australia and Britain, would never allow another.

Republican Bruce Schaug said he was concerned about the $ 3 million a year spent on advertising to persuade people to play Powerball. He proposed a motion to kill the legislation.

“What we’ve got is that the Idahoans will be able to volunteer for their preferred lottery for 32 years,” Anderson said after the vote. “It was good for thirty-two years, but not now. That’s very worrying. “

Anderson said the Powerball will end on August 23 in Idaho due to voting.

He warned that in addition to Idaho schools losing money, the state would incur “unspeakably high costs to discharge all of our advertising liabilities for billboards and outlets.” It will be very expensive for the people of Idaho. ”

Officials at the Multi-Year Lottery Association have e-mailed comments on the Idaho Powerball decision.

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