Budget Proposal Would Supplement Lottery Scholarships With $25M in State Taxpayer Dollars

January 21, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

Last week the Joint Budget Committee at the Arkansas Legislature filed S.B. 93 appropriating public funds for the Department of Higher Education.

The bill is a fairly standard budget measure providing funds for the state Department of Higher Education’s staff, scholarships, and grants. However, the measure allocates $25 million to help pay for a scholarship the Arkansas Lottery is supposed to fund.

Many Arkansans do not realize that since the Arkansas Lottery passed in 2008, the Arkansas Legislature has been forced to make up for the lottery’s shortcomings by continuing to budget millions in taxpayer funding to supplement the Academic Challenge Scholarship each year.

When the Arkansas Lottery was established, the state was assured lottery proceeds would provide $100 million per year in scholarship funding. Instead, the Arkansas Lottery has consistently fallen millions of dollars short of that goal.

As a result, the Arkansas Legislature has supplemented Academic Challenge with funding from the state.

S.B. 93 gives the Academic Challenge Scholarship $25 million in state funding for Fiscal Year 2020 — the same amount as budgets from previous years.

The Arkansas Lottery rolled out more gambling more quickly than any other lottery we know of in America. Its administrative costs have routinely been high, and it has consistently budgeted a smaller percentage of its revenue for students than other state lotteries do.

The fact that the Arkansas Legislature has to spend million of dollars in taxpayer money making up for these deficiencies year after year is a reminder of what a disappointment the State Lottery has turned out to be for Arkansas.

Arkansas Lottery Continues to Give Paltry Funding to Scholarships

January 11, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

Yesterday the Arkansas Lottery released its financial report for the month of December.

The report shows the Arkansas Lottery took in nearly $45.9 million last month, but gave college scholarships less than $6.7 million — 14.5% of all the money the Lottery made. Compare that with states like Louisiana that allocate 35% of their lottery’s revenue for education.

Since July the Arkansas Lottery has given scholarships less than 17 cents of every dollar it made.

For nearly ten years the Arkansas Lottery has demonstrated time and again that scholarship funding is not its highest priority. Things like administrative costs and contracts have continued to take precedence over increasing the budget for Arkansas’ students.

Below is a breakdown of lottery revenue so far this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $42,413,352.70 $5,066,628.73 11.9%
August 40,343,279.62 6,175,998.40 15.3%
September 35,198,809.72 7,783,450.82 22.1%
October 57,575,285.62 11,259,040.31 19.6%
November 37,700,016.00 6,821,411.01 18.1%
December 45,859,642.73 6,650,791.54 14.5%
Total $259,090,386.39 $43,757,320.81 16.9%

AR Lottery Continues to Pay Pennies on the Dollar to Scholarships

January 4, 2019 | Posted in Arkansas Lottery | By

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

The report shows the Arkansas Lottery took in $37.7 million, but paid out $6.8 million for scholarships — about 18 cents out of every dollar the Arkansas Lottery made in November.

This is nothing new. Since Day One, the Arkansas Lottery has failed to budget a meaningful amount of money for college scholarships, even though Arkansans were promised that a statewide lottery would provide at least $100 million in scholarship funding each year.

As of right now, the Arkansas Lottery is on track to pay out roughly $85 million in college scholarships in Fiscal Year 2019.

Below is a breakdown of lottery revenue and scholarship proceeds so far this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $42,413,352.70 $5,066,628.73 11.9%
August 40,343,279.62 6,175,998.40 15.3%
September 35,198,809.72 7,783,450.82 22.1%
October 57,575,285.62 11,259,040.31 19.6%
November 37,700,016.00 6,821,411.01 18.1%
Total $213,230,743.66 $37,106,529.27 17.4%