Alabama lottery debate continues as Mega Millions jackpot grows

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Alabamians felt lotto fever on Friday as the Mega Millions jackpot hit $1.2 billion, making it the second-biggest jackpot in Mega Millions history.

Alabama doesn’t have a state lottery program, but that hasn’t stopped people from running to state lines to play what they believe to be their winning numbers.

“The line is wrapped around the aisles,” said Elba Solano, a Montgomery lottery player.

Solano was at a gas station off Interstate 85 a few miles from the Georgia state line to purchase his Mega Millions tickets.

She added that she would vote for a lottery program in Alabama “for our education system,” saying it would create a better future for children.

Lawmakers like Alabama Rep. Chip Brown of R-Mobile County have said the lack of a lottery system is costing the state millions of dollars that could be spent on education.

“We help fund education and all types of programs in Florida and Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana,” Brown said.

Brown, among other lawmakers, introduced a lottery bill in a legislative session, but they were shot down each time.

Greg Davis, president of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, or ALCAP, said the state should remain without a lottery program.

“(The lottery) takes money from your local economy,” Davis said, “So now your city and your county, they’re missing that money.”

Davis added that Alabama didn’t miss out on any money by not participating in the lottery, saying education in the state was well funded.

“Instead of buying $100 worth of lottery tickets, donate $100 to your community school,” he said. “They will take the money. Or write a check. The school will take the money. This will help education.

Brown mentioned that the possibility of another lottery bill being introduced is high, but he wants voters to make that decision for themselves.

Copyright 2022 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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