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Senate Bill 1398 – Idaho State Lottery, Appropriations FY25

Senate Bill 1398 – Idaho State Lottery, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 5, 2024

The Idaho Spending Index serves to provide a fiscally conservative perspective on state budgeting while providing an unbiased measurement of how Idaho lawmakers apply these values to their voting behavior on appropriations bills. Each bill is analyzed within the context of the metrics below. They receive one (+1) point for each metric that is satisfied by freedom-focused policymaking and lose one (-1) point for each instance in which the inverse is true. The sum of these points composes the score for the bill.

Analyst: Niklas Kleinworth

Rating: -3

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1398 appropriates $8,324,200 and 51.00 full-time positions to the Idaho State Lottery for fiscal year 2025.

Does this budget enact powers and activities that extend beyond the proper role of government? Conversely, does this budget fulfill the proper role of government?

The Idaho State Lottery is three decades old. But the problems with the establishment and running of a government gambling operation are no different today than when the first lottery ticket was sold in Idaho in 1989. 

The government simply shouldn’t be in the lottery business. In addition to being a tax on the poorest, who hope that a winning ticket will solve their financial problems, it is also widely understood to be a tax on people whose hopes lead them to conclude that they may be lucky enough to “strike it rich,” even though the odds don’t favor such an outcome. The lottery’s business model depends on purchases from people who cannot afford tickets, making it highly dubious public policy. Given the current trajectory of the economy, it is likely that ticket sales will continue to increase as Idahoans seek ways to escape the crippling cost of living.


Is the maintenance budget inappropriate for the needs of the state, the size of the agency, or the inflationary environment of the economy? Conversely, is the maintenance budget appropriate given the needs of the state and economic pressures?

This legislation confirms the maintenance budget for the Idaho State Lottery of $7,432,100, growing from the base by 19.4% over the last three years. This rate is higher than what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures over the same period.


Does the budget grow government through the addition of new permanent FTPs or through funding unlegislated efforts to create new or expanded entitlement programs? Conversely, does this budget reduce the size of government staff and programs except where compelled by new legislation?

Senate Bill 1398 adds one full time position for a new regional sales representative to manage the growing number of lottery retailers in the south and eastern parts of the state. This new position would incur an ongoing cost to the agency’s budget of $64,100. This new position is a permanent expansion of the agency. This growth is made especially egregious by expanding an agency that operates outside of the proper role of government.


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