RICHMOND, OCT. 27 -- Opponents of a state-run lottery for Virginia, who have raised more than twice as much money as supporters of Tuesday's referendum, said financial reports made public today indicate that a lottery has little popular support.
The latest financial disclosures show that of nearly $180,000 raised by Virginians for the Lottery, all but $30,000 came from out-of-state companies that either hope to sell equipment or otherwise profit if the state adopts a lottery.
The proponents' report "indicates a lack of genuine support for a lottery," said Jeff Gregson, director of Free Enterprisers Against the Lottery, one of two opponent organizations, which together reported receiving $389,000.
Ken Storey, a spokesman for Virginians for the Lottery, shot back that much of the money to fight the lottery came from church organizations.
"We find it ironic that hundreds of thousands of tax-exempt dollars are being spent to defeat something that will help keep taxes down for all Virginians," Storey said.
The biggest supporter of the antilottery campaign is the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, which gave $108,000 to Virginians Against State-Sponsored Gambling and $12,500 to FEAL.
Storey said the inability to raise money has prevented lottery supporters from launching an advertising campaign to offset radio and television commercials begun last week by opponents.
But Gregson said he anticipates "a last-minute advertising blitz" by proponents, financed by out-of-state contributions that won't have to be reported until after the election.
The final preelection financial reports also showed record spending for a legislative seat.
More than $1 million has been raised and spent in a fiercely contested Senate district in suburban Richmond. Incumbent William F. Parkerson Jr., the Senate's ranking Democrat, has raised $604,379, compared with $431,884 by his Republican challenger, Eddy Dalton, widow of former governor John Dalton.
Polls continue to show that Virginians favor a lottery, but the margin has closed. Storey said earlier polls, which showed the lottery ahead by more than 2 to 1, had hurt fund-raising efforts.
If the outcome is close, Gov. Gerald L. Baliles' view of the lottery, which he has not announced, could take on added significance. The governor's advisers have said he will make a statement on the issue possibly Thursday. Baliles supported putting the question on the ballot.
The largest pro-lottery donor was Scientific Games Inc., of Norcross, Ga., which contributed $79,000. The firm, a subsidiary of Bally Inc., has won the start-up contract in all states that have begun lotteries in recent years.
Southland Corp., the Dallas-based parent of 7-Eleven stores, some of which would most likely become retail outlets for a lottery, was the second largest supporter, giving $25,000.
Other out-of-state supporters of the lottery included British American Bank Note Corp. of Fort Washington, Pa., which prints instant lottery tickets, $15,000; Oppenheimer, Wolff and Donnelly of New York, legal counsel to Control Data Corp., $10,000; General Instrument Corp. of Hunt Valley, Md., $8,000; Syntech International of Reno, $8,000, and G-Tech Corp., Providence, R.I., $5,000.
The largest in-state contribution, $8,253, came from Virginians for the State Lottery, a Virginia Beach organization.
Other major contributors to the antilottery campaign included: Retail Merchants of Norfolk, $20,000; Norfolk Baptist Association, $14,168; Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, $10,000; Calvary United Methodist Church of Arlington, $5,000; Virginia Synod of the Lutheran Church, $5,000; First Baptist Church of Springfield, $2,325, and Manassas Baptist Church, $1,500.