Yeah the problem with our "education" lottery is that the state decided to use the lottery revenues not as additional funds but as a replacement for tax dollars previously earmarked for education. The lottery would have been a great boost to the education system in NC, however the legislators did exactly what they said they would not do, and used it as a replacement instead.
Actually the strip is arguably more depressing than the rest of Vegas. It's an urban area, so there are obviously some downtrodden places, especially since they were one of the hardest hit areas after the housing crisis. But there are DEFINITIVELY a lot of very nice areas outside the strip. Go to North Vegas or old downtown. It's like any other city, plenty of great food and lots of things to do. And, yes, I have been there.
The negatives about gambling are the same negatives that will exist regardless of the legality. The fact is that some people will go broke and get addicted to gambling, whether legal or not. Just because some people lack self control should not condemn some pretty harmless entertainment. As I said earlier, make sure there are ample safety nets in place to assist gambling addicts and you deal with that issue in that manner. There would be plenty of revenue to fund that. Heck, make it a requirement that each institution has to give a percentage to such services. I would be fine with that, as well.