January 5, 2024 2 min read


Utah Lawmaker Proposes State Lottery to Tackle Senior Property Tax Woes

Utah currently stands among a handful of states, including Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, and Nevada, without a lottery system, largely due to the influence of the state's dominant faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In a move to address the escalating property tax concerns of older constituents, Utah Representative Kera Birkeland is championing a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize the state’s first-ever lottery

Rep. Birkeland’s Lottery Proposal Could Boost Utah’s Finances by $200M

Rep. Birkeland contends that legalizing the lottery could inject up to $200 million into Utah’s coffers, money currently flowing across state lines as residents travel to neighboring states like Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona to purchase lottery tickets. The proposal aims to redirect these funds to alleviate the financial strain on seniors facing rising property taxes, reported KSL.

The lawmaker’s initiative sparks a broader conversation about the intersection of gambling practices, fiscal policies, and the unique challenges posed by Utah’s comprehensive ban on all forms of gambling. Utah and Hawaii are the only states where any game of chance is strictly prohibited.

Birkeland argues that the prohibition on gambling has deprived the state of a significant revenue stream. She emphasizes the real-world impact on seniors, sharing stories of constituents forced to sell their homes due to soaring property tax bills.

While the full details of the bill are yet to be unveiled, Birkeland is considering including a stipulation that mandates tax revenue from lottery sales be dedicated to offsetting the tax burden on older adults with fixed incomes. 

The proposal faces a significant hurdle, as a constitutional amendment requires the support of two-thirds of lawmakers in both chambers and approval by a majority of voters in the upcoming general election.

Gov. Cox Challenges Lotteries, Deems Them Harmful

Gov. Spencer Cox, despite not possessing the authority to veto constitutional amendments, conveyed his opposition in a recent news conference, asserting that he believes lotteries and gambling, in general, function as taxes on individuals who struggle with mathematics, causing more harm than good.

Despite the challenges and opposition, Birkeland is determined to push the bill forward, emphasizing the need to address the primary concern of her constituents regarding property taxes. 

Birkeland recognizes the challenging nature of the endeavor but maintains her determination, asserting that she has introduced several bills attempting to limit property taxes and decrease government spending, yet none of them has gained traction.

The proposal reignites the ongoing debate on gambling laws in Utah, with past endeavors facing significant resistance. Birkeland’s initiative signals a potential shift in the state’s stance on gambling, setting the stage for a contentious legislative session.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *