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Republicans Oppose Lottery Prize Increase

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A proposal by leaders of the Oklahoma Lottery to increase prizes in hopes of attracting more players is facing criticism from state House Republicans. Rep. Chris Benge, chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, said he doesn't think putting more money toward prizes would boost overall profits.

Lottery officials have cited other states that increased prizes and had growth in sales, but Benge said Oklahoma is unique because of its casino gambling.

"The casino option has become more attractive to those seeking to gamble," said Benge, R-Tulsa. "It seems unlikely that a slight increase in lottery prize money would change that dynamic."

In order to increase prizes, Oklahoma Lottery officials want the state Legislature to remove a requirement that 35 % of profits must go to education.

Lottery officials have said they would like to dedicate a higher percentage of the profits back into prizes, which they say would lead to more sales and eventually more money for education.

Related story:

12/19/2007 Lottery Commission Seeks Hike In Prizes
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