The state lottery's been referred to for years as a “shell game,” but now a state lawmaker is calling it an out-and-out “scam,” because it does not pay prizes of more than $600, pending new spending authority.

Lawmaker LaShawn Ford says the lottery should quit selling tickets unless there's either a budget or a continuing appropriation. He's started a petition on to that effect -- stop lottery sales until the state budget mess is cleared up.

“The state continues to advertise the Halloween raffle ticket for $1 million,” he says, “but it can't pay but $600 of a prize. They're raking in tons of money off of people with the knowledge that they can't pay.”

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Ford says it's revenue from ticket sales – not taxes – coming into the pot, so there's no reason the lottery cannot continue normal operations, including paying jackpots. 

Ford says the word's getting out about this – and lotteries in border states are coming out the winner.

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