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Now is the right time for a state lottery
by Harry Spencer - Tribune Columnist
Mar 13, 2009 | 791 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photos/Harry Spencer - Long-time Reno photographer Don Dondero was also known for his humorous writing — in addition to occasionally being humorous in front of the camera.
Courtesy photos/Harry Spencer - Long-time Reno photographer Don Dondero was also known for his humorous writing — in addition to occasionally being humorous in front of the camera.
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When retired state archivist Guy Rocha gave his “State of the State” talk to Reno’s Good Old Days (G.O.D.) club last month he noted that among the new sources of revenue for Nevada might be the implementation of a state lottery.

In so doing he joined the many others who have been pushing for a lottery for decades. In his assessment of how a lottery would work for the Silver State he noted, “If we just stopped the vast amount of money that is going to the California lottery from Nevadans who frequent — in droves — the border lottery sales facilities in our state, it would be a win-win for state coffers.”

Currently, in northern Nevada the Gold Ranch location on Interstate 80 West is a huge seller of California lottery tickets, as is nearby Kings Beach at Lake Tahoe and the town of Truckee, Calif.

Back in 1982, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Nevada Lieutenant Governor, Bill Boyd, made a Nevada state lottery the centerpiece of his campaign. He based his proposal on an in-depth study of all of the states in the union that had lotteries at that particular time. Boyd’s proposal, like several others before it, was shot down by the gaming industry. Gamblers have repeatedly stated that the creation of a state lottery would seriously cut into their profits, thence into the gaming taxes they pay and eventually end up hurting, rather than helping, the state. At no point in time has the gaming industry offered up a cogent argument as to the vast amount of Nevada lottery dollars that continue to seep over into California.

One prominent Nevada statesman noted that if Nevada had a lottery it would mean that lottery ticket purchasers would not have enough money left to “buy a tie.” Conversely, many other pro-lottery studies have noted that an establishment that sells lottery tickets almost always sees an increase in its overall business as ticket buyers opt for additional purchases.

Most recently, political activist David Farside has been the standard bearer for a Nevada lottery. He, like Boyd, has done extensive research on the issue and has presented many convincing arguments in Carson City regarding the viability of a state lottery.

One thing that all proponents of the lottery have noted is the fact that when, and if, a national lottery is ever enacted into law, states not already in the lottery business would be prohibited from enacting a lottery. Judging by the current political climate in Washington, D.C. and the toughening economic times throughout the country, a national lottery could be on the horizon.

With the state Legislature now in session, there are many lottery advocates at work in Nevada’s capital pushing for a lottery. One of the salient selling points of the lottery, which should appeal to Gov. Jim Gibbons, is that the lottery presents a “voluntary tax,” which would fit nicely into his “no new taxes” policy.

Celebrity Corner



Less than a decade ago, Reno’s premier photographer, Don Dondero, passed away. While many locals are familiar with his work behind the camera there is another interesting side to the late photographer, and that is he was an accomplished writer — particularly in the humorous vein. His “letters to the editor” appeared on a regular basis and occasionally the paper would print an article he had penned. One of my favorites appeared years ago and went, “There are many penalties for being obese (fat), but one of the least known, and most aggravating, is the practice of some local clothiers to carry a selection of at least two in the larger size items.

“I speak from experience for I wear a size 46 coat and have a waist measurement of 42.

“And I’m no giant; there are a lot of men bigger than me in every direction.

“But it’s still an unhappy fact that when I go to buy pants the sales person guides me to the selection in my size — two and occasionally three different pairs.

“One is always black for the many casino employees in the area, the second is usually wildly orange or electric blue and the third (when there are three) is a sort of brown design that was popular for use on seat covers during the era of the Hudson Hornet.

“My response is to thank the guy and vow to make the (pants) I have last another couple of months. This is why people usually describe me as ‘not too much of a dresser.’

“If I want a new sport coat, I’m in much the same spot. However, there’s an additional angle in coats that adds to the unhappiness.

“It’s in the different lengths — short, medium and long. Many times I’ll spot one of the two different coats in my size that pleases me and then when I pull it off the rack I find that it hits me at about the knees.

“So the next time you see a fat man walking down the street looking like he’s just been hit by a train, don’t judge too harshly. He’s just waiting for a new shipment of two or three of the latest styles to show up at some clothing store.”

Goodbye again, to a one-of-a-kind guy.

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.

Editor’s note: Harry Spencer’s column is sometimes a mix of reporting and opinion. Opinions expressed in his column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.
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Now is the right time for a state lottery by Harry Spencer - Tribune Columnist


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