State lottery raises $99.7 million for college students

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The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery raised $99.7 million for college scholarships in the just-ended fiscal year, with gross lottery revenue reaching $580.2 million .

The figures for fiscal year 2022, which ended June 30, are the second-largest amounts the lottery has reported in a fiscal year, after only fiscal year 2021, when the lottery raised 106, $6 million for college scholarships, his earnings totaling $632.5 million.

A year ago, lottery officials attributed record fiscal 2021 numbers in part to factors brought on by the covid-19 pandemic. They predicted the lottery would raise $88.6 million for college scholarships, with estimated revenue of $509.2 million for fiscal year 2022.

But the lottery beat its projections for total revenue for fiscal year 2022 by $71 million and for the amount raised from college scholarships by $11.1 million, the lottery’s chief financial officer, Jerry Fetzer, said Tuesday.

In fiscal 2022, lottery scratch ticket revenue fell to $480.1 million from $529.3 million in fiscal 2021, according to the lottery’s monthly report dated Monday to Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Legislative Council’s Lottery Oversight Subcommittee.

On Tuesday, lottery gaming director Mike Smith said record fiscal 2021 scratch ticket revenue was helped by economic conditions, many of which were the result of the pandemic.

“We had anticipated a decline in scratch revenue and were competitive enough to end with the second highest fiscal year in scratch revenue, which remained under 10% from [fiscal year] The banner year of 2021,” he said in a statement.

In fiscal 2022, lottery draw game ticket revenue fell to $99.4 million from $102.5 million in fiscal 2021, according to the lottery report. . Lottery draw games include Powerball, Mega Millions, Fast Play, Natural State Jackpot, Lucky for Life, Cash 3 and Cash 4.

Smith said the drop in raffle ticket revenue was smaller in fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021 than the drop in scratch ticket revenue, because scratch ticket revenue “was more outsized during the pandemic than raffle game revenue”.

Jackpot levels throughout a fiscal year play a major role in draw game revenue, he said.

Changes in FY2022 that have contributed to draw game revenue include Powerball adding a third draw day each week, Lucky for Life moving to daily draws, and “we’ve focused on promoting draw games,” Smith said.

In 2008, voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to create the scholarship lottery. The lottery has been selling tickets since September 28, 2009.

The lottery has helped fund Arkansas Academic Challenge scholarships for more than 30,000 students in each of the past 11 fiscal years.

The lottery’s main promoter, then Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, projected that it would raise about $100 million a year for college scholarships. At that time, the Department of State Finance and Administration estimated college scholarships at about $55 million. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a lottery foe, is planning about $61.5 million.

The lottery has been part of the Department of State Finance and Administration since February 2015, when Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law legislation putting his administration in charge of the lottery and abolishing the independent nine-member Lottery Commission. who controlled the lottery. .

Eric Hagler, a former financial services lawyer, has been director of the lottery since August 2020.

In January, Hagler said the lottery’s biggest growth potential over the next five years is digital ticket sales, but there’s no specific timeline for the agency to launch an iLottery to sell tickets. tickets online. While it’s unclear whether legislative approval is required, Hagler said the state Department of Finance and Administration and lottery officials will seek legislative approval before launching iLottery.

Finance Department spokesman Scott Hardin said Tuesday that the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery does not currently plan to offer iLottery in the 2023 legislative session.

TOP RATED SELLER

Among the lottery’s nearly 2,000 retailers, board game and lottery ticket vendor Winners Corner in Little Rock sold the most lottery tickets for the second consecutive fiscal year in fiscal 2022, records show. the lottery.

The Jackpocket mobile app, which allows Arkansas lottery players to purchase raffle game tickets via their smartphones and collect their winnings without leaving home, is available from the retailer, 6801 W. 12th St in Little Rock. Jackpocket said the app company began operating in Arkansas in May 2020.

The lottery retailer sold $4.8 million worth of tickets in fiscal 2022, surpassing the $2.8 million sold at the Wa Wa Mart store at 7515 Baseline Road in Little Rock and the $1.9 million at dollars sold at the Exxon One Stop store in Pine Bluff at 2901 W. 28th St., according to lottery records.

In fiscal 2021, the Winners Corner store sold the most tickets, with $2.9 million in sales, beating the $2.4 million sold at the Road Runner store in Bryant at 23190 Interstate 30 and the $2 million sold at the Exxon One Stop store in Pine Bluff, according to lottery records. The 2021 fiscal year began on July 1, 2020 and ended on June 30, 2021.

In fiscal 2022, Bryant’s Road Runner store ranked fourth among retailers in ticket sales at $1.8 million, according to lottery records.

SCHOLARSHIP

The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships are funded by net lottery proceeds plus $20 million annually in general state revenue.

In fiscal year 2022, the state’s Division of Higher Education awarded these scholarships to 28,716 students and disbursed $75.1 million, division spokeswoman Alisha Lewis said.

There are three slates left to pay for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, she said, adding that one slate is a list of students that universities and colleges have verified and “send to us for payment.”

The division had forecast it would distribute $90 million in scholarships to 31,200 students in fiscal year 2022, after awarding about $86 million a year ago.

The amount awarded for Academic Challenge Scholarships peaked at $132.9 million in fiscal year 2013, with scholarships awarded to 33,353 students.

The total scholarships fell largely because the legislature repeatedly reduced the amount of the initial scholarships.

The 2017 legislature created the Workforce Challenge Scholarship to use excess revenue to provide up to $800 per year to students enrolled in programs leading to qualifications in high-demand occupations.

In fiscal year 2022, the division awarded these scholarships to 2,960 students and disbursed $605,694, Lewis said.

The division planned to distribute $450,000 for these scholarships in fiscal year 2022, compared to $487,865 in fiscal year 2021.

The 2019 legislature created the Concurrent Challenge program. Junior and senior high school students are eligible to receive the scholarships for a semester or academic year in which they are enrolled in an approved concurrent course or certain programs.

For the Concurrent Challenge program, the division awarded scholarships to 16,432 students and disbursed $2.7 million in fiscal year 2022, Lewis said. For fiscal year 2022, the division planned to distribute $2.7 million of these scholarships to 13,000 students, compared to $2.4 million to 14,091 students in fiscal year 2021.

JUNE SALES AT A GLANCE

Total lottery revenue fell in June to $45.6 million from $53.3 million in the same month a year ago.

Lottery scratch ticket revenue fell last month to $37.1 million from $45.8 million a year ago, while lottery draw game ticket revenue rose to $8.3 million versus $7.4 million a year ago.

Last month, revenue from the lottery’s Powerball tickets rose to $2.1 million from $1.6 million a year ago; Natural State Jackpot revenue increased to $1.6 million from $945,482 a year ago; Mega Millions ticket revenue increased to $1.3 million from $1 million a year ago; and Fast Play ticket revenue fell to $1.3 million from $1.7 million a year ago, according to lottery reports.

Over the past six months, lottery revenue has declined from figures five of those months a year ago.

In January, Hagler told lawmakers the next few months would be tough for the lottery and “we think we’ll see some cooling.”

Rising gasoline prices have also played a role in the fall in lottery ticket revenue in recent months.

The average statewide gasoline price in Arkansas is $4.25 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, the AAA reported Tuesday. That compares to $4.36 a gallon a week ago, $4.53 a gallon a month ago and $2.85 a gallon a year ago. The record high average price for regular unleaded in Arkansas was $4.54 on June 14, according to the AAA.

The amount raised by the college scholarship lottery last month fell to $14.3 million from $15.1 million a year ago. At the end of each fiscal year, the balance of the state unclaimed prize reserve fund less $1 million is transferred to college scholarships under state law.

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