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The Arkansas lottery's revenue for draw games, including Powerball and Mega Millions, surged in May over a year ago as scratch-off ticket revenue slipped partly due to the record flooding.

The lottery collected $41.1 million in total revenue in the month -- an increase of about $700,000 from a year ago -- the lottery reported on Monday.

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery last month raised a total of $8.3 million for college scholarships last month -- up by about $360,000 from year ago figures -- according to the lottery's monthly report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Legislative Council's lottery oversight subcommittee.

The lottery raised more money for college scholarships in May than a year ago because of the increase in draw game sales from the large jackpots, said lottery Director Bishop Woosley.

"During May, we had a record Natural State Jackpot, Mega Millions rolled throughout the month and into June to become the fifth highest jackpot in that game's history, and Powerball's jackpot grew to be fairly large by the end of the month," he said Monday in a written statement.

The Mega Millions jackpot was at $475 million through May 31, and someone out of state won it at $530 million on Friday, while Powerball reached $350 million, and the Natural State Jackpot winner hit $430,000, Woosley said.

In May, the lottery's draw game revenue increased by $2.3 million over a year ago to $8.6 million, while the lottery's scratch-off revenue slipped by $1.6 million from a year ago to $32.5 million, the lottery reported.

The scratch-off ticket revenue dipped in May because "we launched our May tickets in April, which stole one day of sales from the May launch," and "the flooding and the weather near the end of the month understandably had a negative impact on our sales," Woosley said.

"You would also assume that the larger Natural State Jackpot, Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots collected some of our instant sales as well," he said.

Instant tickets also are called scratch-off tickets.

The lottery has helped finance Arkansas Academic Scholarships for more than 30,000 college students in each of the past nine fiscal years.

The lottery started selling tickets on Sept. 28, 2009.

May is the 11th month of fiscal 2019.

With the lottery's revenue at $477.8 million so far in fiscal 2019 -- up from $462.8 million in the same period in fiscal 2018 -- Woosley said Monday in a written statement that "barring an issue, we should beat the sales record set last fiscal year by $10-15 million dollars."

In fiscal 2018 that ended June 30, 2018, the lottery's revenue totaled a record $502.4 million, while it also raised $91.9 million for college scholarships -- the third-largest amount in a fiscal year.

During the first 11 months of fiscal 2019, the lottery has raised $84.9 million for college scholarships -- an increase from the $78.6 million raised in the same period in fiscal 2018.

Under state law, the lottery transfers its unclaimed prizes, minus a $1 million balance, to college scholarships at the end of each fiscal year. The unclaimed prize reserve fund totaled $7.6 million on May 31, after the lottery had unclaimed prizes totaling $727,543 in May.

"Our original budget for scholarship proceeds was $85.9 [million], so I think we may get close to a fiscal year record," Woosley said. The record amount of money raised for college scholarships was $97.5 million in fiscal 2012, after it raised $94.2 million in fiscal 2011. Fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2018 are the only ones in which the lottery raised more than $90 million for college scholarships.

So far in fiscal 2019, 34,488 students have received a total of $91.1 million Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships, said Department of Higher Education spokeswoman Alisha Lewis. In all 12 months of fiscal 2018, 33,022 students received a total of $91.9 million in Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships, she said.

The total value of Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships peaked in fiscal 2012 at $132.9 million, according to the department. The Legislature cut the size of future scholarships three times over the several years, after the lottery's net proceeds lagged for a few years and more students than projected received the scholarship. The scholarships also are financed by $20 million a year in state general revenue and a $20 million reserve fund that covers temporary cash shortages.

With the lottery's rebound in recent years, the Legislature in 2017 created a new scholarship program called the Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarship program to be financed with the lottery's exceed proceeds.

The Workforce Challenge Scholarship program provides aid of up to $800 a year for students enrolled in certificate and associate degree programs for high-demand occupations in information technology, health care and industrial manufacturing.

The school year that started last fall was the first one in which the scholarship was available. The department has awarded a total of $181,817 in Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarships to more than 200 students in fiscal 2019, Lewis said.

This year, the Legislature created the lottery-financed Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship program under Act 456. Students are eligible to receive the scholarship for a semester or academic year in which they are enrolled in an endorsed concurrent enrollment course or certificate program under certain conditions.

The scholarships "shall be funded with any funds remaining after the Department of Higher Education allocates sufficient funding to award Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarships ... at a level equivalent to the awards made in the previous academic year," under Act 456.

This year, the Legislature also created the lotteryfinanced Arkansas Academic Support Scholarship program under Act 1026. Eligible students may get a scholarship of $250 for the academic year in which they are enrolled in a higher education institution. Under Act 1026, the scholarships "shall be funded with any funds remaining after the Department of Higher Education allocates sufficient funding to award Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships ..., Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarships..., and Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarships."

Metro on 06/11/2019

Print Headline: High jackpots help lottery's May revenue


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  • GeneralMac
    June 11, 2019 at 8:53 a.m.

    (4th paragraph)

    There is the answer to crybabies who say the lottery should NOT go for a long time w/o a winner resulting in HUGE jackpots.

    I only play PowerBall and ocassional Natural State, but when I heard the jackpot for Mega Million was unbelievable high, I bought a ticket and I'm sure many others did the same ( play for the 1st time )

  • MaxCady
    June 11, 2019 at 11:13 a.m.

    The odds are the same whether the jackpot is $5 million or $500 million.