Why is the Arkansas Lottery Budgeting Less for Scholarships This Year?

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

State Lottery Rolls Out New $20 Scratch-Off Ticket

Earlier this month the Arkansas Lottery rolled out a new scratch-off ticket that sells for $20 and offers a top prize of $1 million.

The odds of winning any prize at all — including a $20 break-even prize — from this ticket are about 1 in 3 — meaning a person will lose, on average, $40 or more for every $20 he or she wins from this scratch-off ticket.

To put it another way, people who spend $20 on this scratch-off ticket have a 66% chance of losing their money.

The odds of winning a $1 million jackpot prize are a staggering 1 in 640,000!

Last October we wrote about how these expensive scratch-off tickets prey on the truly desperate.

They entice Arkansans to spend a lot of money on a single lottery ticket in hopes of a big payout.

This is just another example of the Arkansas Lottery preying on the poor in our state.

Arkansas Lottery’s Scholarship Funding Remains Dismal: November Report

This week the Arkansas Lottery released its financial report for the month of November.

The report indicates the Arkansas Lottery made more than $36.1 million in November, but paid less than $6 million to college scholarships.

So far this fiscal year the Lottery has given the state’s Academic Challenge Scholarship fund less than 15 cents out of every dollar the Lottery has made.

Last month the Arkansas Lottery spent more than four times as much on lottery ticket prizes as it did on scholarships.

Lottery revenue this year is down by only 2.6% over this time two years ago, but scholarship funding is down by 18% from 2017 and 23.7% from last year.

Below is a breakdown of Lottery revenue and scholarship spending so far this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $41,239,173.79 $4,523,930.75 11.0%
August 40,899,086.75 4,942,736.97 12.1%
September 36,202,677.79 6,565,973.32 18.1%
October 38,932,640.23 6,318,099.21 16.2%
November 36,118,641.12 5,947,177.45 16.5%
Total $193,392,219.68 $28,297,917.70 14.6%