The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery ended the fiscal year more than $10 million ahead of its previous annual sales.
The Arkansas Lottery Commission said yearly sales $474,076,726. That figure is unaudited and could change, the commission said.
Audited numbers are expected to be released on July 10 when the state's lottery scholarship numbers will be updated. In the first 11 months of the fiscal year, the scholarship fund had a balance of $88,403,303.
“The people of Arkansas voted in favor of starting a lottery because they wanted our citizens to have a better chance of going to college and getting a degree,” said Lottery Chairman Ben Pickard. “Ten million dollars more in sales was not easy to achieve. I commend the great work of the lottery staff for getting through a difficult year and keeping their eye on the ball to get this done. All of us know our only mission is to maximize scholarship dollars.”
In the past year, the lottery has seen the sudden departure of its top 3 administrators and has wrangled with issues rela
ted to its vendor contract with Scientific Games as well as charges of ticket tampering.
In 2010, the first year of the lottery, net sales totaled $373.12 million with $82.8 million being collected for scholarships. The lottery did not operate for the full 12 months during that year.
In 2011, the lottery generated sales of $464.02 million with $94.2 million collected for scholarships.
Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said he was optimistic that scholarship funding this year will outstrip those of previous years.
“We’ve done a little better in the sale of our more profitable draw tickets. Three years of experience has taught us how to best focus advertising dollars and the preferences of Arkansas players. With the 64,708 scholarships produced thus far, it appears the people of Arkansas are getting more familiar with their lottery and see that it is doing a lot of good,” Woosley said. “I don’t want to get ahead of our financial people, but I think we’re going to see a healthy total for this year’s scholarship fund.”