January 11, 2016 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

Last Friday the Arkansas Lottery Commission released its financial summary for December 2015. The report shows college scholarship funding received a paltry 16.6% of the Lottery’s gross revenue for the month.

In other words, each time someone bought a $1 scratch-off ticket in December, the state’s Academic Challenge Scholarship fund only received about $0.16 – $0.17.

Below is a breakdown of the Arkansas Lottery’s revenue–and scholarship allocations–so far for Fiscal Year 2016.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $ 31,665,651.14 $ 5,784,683.09 18.3%
August 31,265,177.55 5,490,094.00 17.6%
September 36,134,389.63 6,624,967.11 18.3%
October 35,261,533.80 6,020,642.32 17.1%
November 32,226,599.28 5,725,139.09 17.8%
December 38,670,746.09 6,425,754.66 16.6%
Total $ 205,224,097.49 $ 36,071,280.27 17.6%

Looking at these numbers, the Arkansas Lottery now appears on track to pay out about $75 – $85 million in scholarships this fiscal year.

Over the past eighteen months Arkansans have spent nearly $614.5 million on lottery tickets–but only $108.5 million of that money went to scholarships. The rest went to pay salaries, lottery vendors, and so forth. When it’s all said and done, very little of the Arkansas Lottery’s revenue actually goes to the college scholarships for which it was established.

To put it into perspective, even a 4/10-cent increase in the state sales tax could produce more money for scholarships with less government waste than the Arkansas Lottery.

Below is an overview of lottery revenue and scholarship funding since July 2014.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July, 2014 $ 30,925,067.43 $ 5,928,447.99 19.2%
August 31,571,412.10 5,296,965.80 16.8%
September 30,710,493.31 4,317,227.10 14.1%
October 32,959,739.29 5,939,625.59 18.0%
November 30,617,278.28 5,577,035.16 18.2%
December 34,507,731.54 5,474,318.77 15.9%
January, 2015 35,433,619.67 7,287,773.28 20.6%
February 41,770,314.46 6,161,343.01 14.8%
March 37,367,453.25 6,898,524.35 18.5%
April 33,866,970.54 5,881,005.95 17.4%
May 35,689,036.10 5,409,050.48 15.2%
June 33,815,559.59 8,278,928.14 24.5%
July 31,665,651.14 5,784,683.09 18.3%
August 31,265,177.55 5,490,094.00 17.6%
September 36,134,389.63 6,624,967.11 18.3%
October 35,261,533.80 6,020,642.32 17.1%
November 32,226,599.28 5,725,139.09 17.8%
December 38,670,746.09 6,425,754.66 16.6%
Total $ 614,458,773.05 $ 108,521,525.89 17.7%

Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.