Arkansas Scholarship Lottery proceeds were down more than a third in May from a year before and it appears sales will fall short of projections for the fiscal year that were revised downward in February, Director Bishop Woosley said Wednesday.
The lottery reported about $6.5 million in net proceeds for scholarships this May, which was a 34.2 percent decline from nearly $9.9 million collected in May last year. The proceeds were only 1.7 percent under the $6.62 million projected for May 2014 in the lottery's budget, which the lottery revised downward in February.
With one month left in the fiscal year, the lottery will likely fall short of meeting that lowered budget, Woosley told commissioners. The forecast was lowered in February from $89.5 million to about $82.8 million, and it now appears the proceeds will come in around $80.5 million, he said.
"I want to make as much as possible for the students," Woosley told reporters after the meeting, noting that proposed changes like adding electronic-monitor games should help improve revenue. "One of the things we've brought forward is that wish list from back in February. I'll be more disappointed if after we get some of the things implemented in the wish list that we don't move some revenue back up and make more money."
According to the lottery's sales report for May, instant ticket sales were $27.6 million, down 7.4 percent from $29.9 million a year before. Sales of online tickets, which include Powerball and Mega Millions, were $5.6 million in the latest reporting month, down 54.4 percent from about $12.4 million in May 2013.
Instant tickets were 2.7 percent under the budgeted amount, while online tickets were 23.4 percent under the projections.
Fiscal year-to-date net proceeds through May are $69.5 million, down 14.5 percent from $81.3 million from the same point a year earlier.
Also at Wednesday's meeting, the lottery voted to approve Woosley's recommendation the agency hire as security director Daryl Backes, who works now for the Missouri Lottery as its integrity and security manager.
Woosley said Backes has nearly 30 years experience in the lottery and is a former police officer. Backes, who will make $98,500 and start later this summer, will succeed Lance Huey, who is retiring at the end of June.