Family Council routinely writes about how the Arkansas Lottery budgets a pathetic amount of money for college scholarships and about how it preys on the poor and desperate with its heavy emphasis on scratch-off tickets — some of which cost as much as $20 a piece.

However, something that gets relatively little attention is the large amount of money that the Arkansas Lottery pulls out of the economy every year.

In Fiscal Year 2019 the Arkansas Lottery sold over half-a-billion dollars worth of lottery tickets — nearly $515.5 million.

The Arkansas Lottery paid out nearly $349.9 million in prizes.

All told, Arkansans lost over $165.6 million playing the lottery last year.

Right now the state is halfway through Fiscal Year 2020, and Arkansans have lost more than $74.1 million playing the lottery.

Lottery tickets aren’t the only form of gambling that Arkansans are losing money on.

Last year the Department of Finance and Administration found that Arkansans reported a total of over $244 million in gambling losses in 2017.

Together, the state lottery and casino gambling are draining millions upon millions of dollars out of the state economy every year.

Below is a table breaking down the amount of money people spent — and lost — on lottery tickets the past few years.

FY2020 (Partial) FY2019 FY2018 FY2017 FY2016
Total Lottery Ticket Sales $239,111,994.50 $515,493,507.00 $499,707,976.00 $449,141,028.00 $455,599,402.00
Total Lottery Prizes 164,958,958.21 349,876,222.00 341,895,420.00 306,429,388.00 308,947,315.00
Money Lost Playing the Lottery $74,153,036.29 $165,617,285.00 $157,812,556.00 $142,711,640.00 $146,652,087.00