The Arkansas Lottery continues to budget only a small fraction of its revenue for education.

According to recent financial reports, the Arkansas Lottery has grossed $519.7 million this fiscal year, but it has only spent $99.7 million on college scholarships. While that sounds like a lot of money, it’s only about 19% of the lottery’s gross revenue — which is far less than what the lottery could afford to spend.

The Arkansas Lottery has spent more than $355 million on prizes for lottery players.

Since 2008, the Arkansas Lottery has shown a consistent pattern of over-spending on prizes and other expenses while under-spending on education.

The Lottery also has a habit of relying heavily on scratch-off tickets — including expensive tickets that entice people to spend money on long odds for large prizes.

Taken together, all of this makes Arkansas’ state-run lottery an especially predatory form of gambling.

The Arkansas Legislature also has continued to budget millions of dollars in taxpayer funding to supplement lottery scholarships every year.

In May lawmakers appropriated $25 million for the Academic Challenge Scholarship — the scholarship that the Arkansas Lottery funds — for the upcoming 2024-2025 budget cycle.

Even though the Arkansas Lottery makes hundreds of millions of dollars every year, relatively little money goes to students — and regular taxpayers still end up footing part of the bill for the scholarships.

Family Council has supported legislation in the past that would restructure the Arkansas Lottery’s budget to increase spending on education.

Arkansas could provide millions of dollars more in scholarship funding if it simply would reduce the Lottery’s prize budget and increase its scholarship budget to align with other state lotteries.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to be a high priority at the Arkansas Lottery.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers. Photo Credit: Powerball and Mega Millions Lottery Billboard in Missouri by Tony Webster, on Flickr.