Arkansas Lottery Gives Paltry 11% of Revenue to Scholarships in February

Yesterday the Arkansas Lottery posted its financial figures for the month of February.

The Arkansas Lottery took in nearly $40.8 million in February, but paid out a paltry $4.5 million for scholarships–about 11% of its gross revenue for the month.

This is the same, old story we have seen month after month at the Arkansas Lottery: No matter what lottery ticket sales do, scholarship funding takes a backseat.

Even in January, when PowerBall sales went through the roof, college scholarships did not see even 24 cents of every dollar the Arkansas Lottery made.

Below is a breakdown of lottery figures since the start of Fiscal Year 2016 last July:

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%
January, 2016 58,746,249.00 13,831,359.75 23.5%
February 40,790,144.05 4,474,356.06 11.0%
Total $ 304,760,490.54 $ 54,376,996.08 17.8%

As you can see, the Arkansas Lottery has allocated less than 18% of its total revenue for scholarships this fiscal year. Based on these numbers, the Arkansas Lottery is on track to pay out somewhere around $80 – $85 million for scholarships in Fiscal Year 2016.

Below is a breakdown of Arkansas Lottery figures since July of 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%
January, 2016 58,746,249.00 13,831,359.75 23.5%
February 40,790,144.05 4,474,356.06 11.0%
Total $ 713,995,166.10 $ 126,827,241.70 17.8%

 

Lottery Ad Ignores Math

Recently ads for PowerBall have appeared around Arkansas, saying, “Someone’s Gonna Win, Why Not You?” But there’s a problem with the ad: There’s no guarantee “someone’s gonna win” a prize playing PoweBall.

Mathematically, the odds of winning the PowerBall jackpot are approximately 1 in 292.2 million. The odds of winning some sort of prize–such as a $4 payout–are roughly 1 in 25.

That means if 25 people each bought a PowerBall ticket, statistically speaking, one of them likely would win some sort of prize. However, there is no guarantee anyone will win; with a lottery like PowerBall, all 25 players could pick the very same losing numbers.

That’s because PowerBall’s winning numbers are all chosen at random. PowerBall isn’t like a raffle, where winning tickets are drawn from a hat based on the tickets sold. Raffles guarantee a winner; lotteries do not. That’s why PowerBall jackpots can grow to the levels we saw earlier this year: When people don’t win prizes playing PowerBall, the prize money has time to grow. While unlikely, it’s mathematically possible no one will ever win at PowerBall again.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” With the lottery, the facts cannot be ignored: There simply is no guarantee that “someone’s gonna win.”