During the first six months of Fiscal Year 2015 (which began last summer) at the Arkansas Lottery the percentage of gross lottery revenue allocated for scholarships dropped to record lows.
|Month||Gross Lottery Revenue||Paid to Scholarships||% Gross Revenue|
Based on these figures, the Arkansas Lottery is on track to pay out roughly $65 – $70 million in scholarship money. That’s about $10 – $15 million less than projected for Fiscal Year 2015.
Last summer the Lottery Director told the Arkansas Lottery Commission that “the very conservative budget anticipated $81.2 million net proceeds to [college scholarships] for [Fiscal Year] 2015.”
The average state lottery allocates about 30% of its gross revenue for its intended purpose (e.g. education, college scholarships, etc.). However, the Arkansas Lottery is allocating, on average, 17% of its revenue for college scholarships. That’s the lowest percentage in its history, and one of the lowest in the nation.
This comes as the Arkansas Legislature considers bills that would overhaul the Arkansas Lottery–including legislation to change the way scholarships are allocated and abolish the Arkansas Lottery Commission by making the Lottery part of the Department of Finance and Administration.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state is also considering eliminating eight lottery staff positions to reduce costs. The savings to the Lottery would total somewhere over $400,000 per year–about 1/25 of the money lottery officials need in order to make up for the estimated budget shortfall shaping up for the year.