I recently saw a news item that said since 1993 more than $489 million has been raised from the Nebraska Lottery for education programs, the Environmental Trust Fund and some other beneficiary groups, including the State Fair. This story served as a reminder that it’s been 20 years since I managed the campaign for the ballot measure, Constitutional Amendment 1A, to authorize the State of Nebraska to create and operate the lottery.
On Nov. 3, 1992, Nebraskans approved the constitutional amendment by a 62 to 38 percent majority. A total of 440,973 Nebraskans voted for the amendment, and 267,928 voted against it. The amendment received a majority of the votes in 84 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. Friends of Education and the Environment, the name of the campaign committee supporting the lottery amendment, raised and spent a mere $30,080 for the successful effort.
This despite the fact that the lottery was opposed by spokespeople for most mainline Protestant denominations, some Jewish rabbis, two former governors and just about every daily newspaper in the state.