The One Thing the Arkansas Lottery Needs to Do to Increase Funding for College Scholarships

March 11, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

On Friday the Arkansas Lottery released its financial report for the month of February.

The Arkansas Lottery grossed more than $41 million, but gave scholarships less than $8.2 million — just 20 cents out of every dollar the Lottery made.

The Arkansas Lottery consistently has paid out pathetic sums to college scholarships since Day One.

While the average state lottery gives about 30% of its gross revenue to state programs, Arkansas’ gives about 17% – 18%. As a result, college scholarship funding never has lived up to the promises made when the Lottery came to the state a decade ago.

But today the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration issued a fiscal impact statement confirming that the Lottery Office only has to do one thing to provide more money for college scholarships: Give a larger percentage of its gross revenue to the state’s Academic Challenge Scholarship fund.

The report was issued in response to S.B. 387, which requires the Lottery to give 25% of its gross revenue to college scholarships by Fiscal Year 2025.

According to the report, if this bill passes, scholarship funds will increase from $99.9 million next year to $124.9 million by 2025.

Below is a breakdown of lottery revenue and scholarship funding so far this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $42,413,352.70 $5,066,628.73 11.9%
August 40,343,279.62 6,175,998.40 15.3%
September 35,198,809.72 7,783,450.82 22.1%
October 57,575,285.62 11,259,040.31 19.6%
November 37,700,016.00 6,821,411.01 18.1%
December 45,859,642.73 6,650,791.54 14.5%
January, 2019 40,574,813.28 7,848,495.62 19.3%
February 41,060,111.75 8,198,257.31 20.0%
Total $340,725,311.42 $59,804,073.74 17.6%

Arkansas Lottery Puts up Dismal January Numbers

February 12, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

Last Friday the Arkansas released its financial report for the month of January 2019.

The report shows the Arkansas Lottery grossed nearly $40.6 million last month, but paid just $7.8 million to college scholarships — about 19 cents out of every dollar the lottery made.

In the last seven months the Arkansas Lottery has given about 17% of its revenue to scholarships — less than half the percentage our neighbors to the south in Louisiana allocate for education.

After ten years of failed promises to change and improve, the Arkansas Lottery continues to fail to make scholarship funding a serious priority.

Below is a breakdown of Lottery revenue so far this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery RevenuePaid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $ 42,413,352.70 $ 5,066,628.73 11.9%
August 40,343,279.62 6,175,998.40 15.3%
September 35,198,809.72 7,783,450.82 22.1%
October 57,575,285.62 11,259,040.31 19.6%
November 37,700,016.00 6,821,411.01 18.1%
December 45,859,642.73 6,650,791.54 14.5%
January, 2019 40,574,813.28 7,848,495.62 19.3%
Total $ 299,665,199.67 $ 51,605,816.43 17.2%

Budget Proposal Would Supplement Lottery Scholarships With $25M in State Taxpayer Dollars

January 21, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

Last week the Joint Budget Committee at the Arkansas Legislature filed S.B. 93 appropriating public funds for the Department of Higher Education.

The bill is a fairly standard budget measure providing funds for the state Department of Higher Education’s staff, scholarships, and grants. However, the measure allocates $25 million to help pay for a scholarship the Arkansas Lottery is supposed to fund.

Many Arkansans do not realize that since the Arkansas Lottery passed in 2008, the Arkansas Legislature has been forced to make up for the lottery’s shortcomings by continuing to budget millions in taxpayer funding to supplement the Academic Challenge Scholarship each year.

When the Arkansas Lottery was established, the state was assured lottery proceeds would provide $100 million per year in scholarship funding. Instead, the Arkansas Lottery has consistently fallen millions of dollars short of that goal.

As a result, the Arkansas Legislature has supplemented Academic Challenge with funding from the state.

S.B. 93 gives the Academic Challenge Scholarship $25 million in state funding for Fiscal Year 2020 — the same amount as budgets from previous years.

The Arkansas Lottery rolled out more gambling more quickly than any other lottery we know of in America. Its administrative costs have routinely been high, and it has consistently budgeted a smaller percentage of its revenue for students than other state lotteries do.

The fact that the Arkansas Legislature has to spend million of dollars in taxpayer money making up for these deficiencies year after year is a reminder of what a disappointment the State Lottery has turned out to be for Arkansas.