Recently we wrote about how the Arkansas Lottery has rolled out expensive lottery tickets that prey on the desperate and about how the Lottery continues to budget very little money for education.

However, this year the Lottery appears to be budgeting even less money for college scholarships than it usually does.

The Arkansas Lottery’s scholarship funding has fallen by nearly 24% since this time last year and 18.4% since this time two years ago.

Part of the reason may be that lottery ticket sales are down slightly this year, but that doesn’t seem to explain it fully.

Lottery revenue so far this year is about 9% lower than last year’s and 2.6% lower than 2017’s lottery revenue.

Why would scholarship funding plummet 18% – 24% just because lottery ticket sales are down by 2% – 9%?

Right now, college scholarships receive about 14.6 cents out of every dollar the Arkansas Lottery makes — compared with about 17.4 – 17.5 cents out of every dollar this time last year and two years ago.

In other words, even if the Arkansas Lottery’s revenue this year were as strong as last year’s, scholarship funding still would be down by about 3%.

All of this seems to indicate that the Arkansas Lottery has deliberately reduced its scholarship budget. But why would the Lottery do that?

There simply does not seem to be a good reason at this point.

All told, the Arkansas Lottery has given students $8.8 million less this fiscal year than last year and nearly $6.4 million less than in 2017.

Below is a comparison of Lottery revenue and scholarship funding for the past two fiscal years.

Lottery Revenue

Month Lottery Revenue 2017 Lottery Revenue 2018 Lottery Revenue 2019
July $36,885,396.81 $42,413,352.70 $41,239,173.79
August 49,320,459.23 40,343,279.62 40,899,086.75
September 36,405,731.14 35,198,809.72 36,202,677.79
October 39,802,740.53 57,575,285.62 38,932,640.23
November 36,186,107.78 37,700,016.00 36,118,641.12
Total $198,600,435.49 $213,230,743.66 $193,392,219.68

Lottery Scholarship Funding

Month Scholarships 2017 Scholarships 2018 Scholarships 2019
July $6,661,762.99 $5,066,628.73 $4,523,930.75
August 8,912,741.54 6,175,998.40 4,942,736.97
September 6,755,333.93 7,783,450.82 6,565,973.32
October 5,667,305.74 11,259,040.31 6,318,099.21
November 6,691,228.00 6,821,411.01 5,947,177.45
Total $34,688,372.20 $37,106,529.27 $28,297,917.70