Arkansas Lottery program touts county benefits

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 130 views 

More than 12,000 lottery-funded scholarships were issued to residents of Benton and Washington counties, with more than 6,600 such scholarships awarded to residents in Crawford and Sebastian counties.

The Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program on Monday (Mar. 4) issued reports on the lottery benefits specific to Arkansas’ 75 counties. With the program completing its third year, lottery officials have used the anniversary to promote what they see as benefits of the program.

On Feb. 19, Lottery Director Bishop Woosley issued a statement saying the program had delivered more than $321 million for the Education Trust Fund to finance 94,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships. He said the lottery has sold more than $1.5 billion in tickets and paid commissions of about $85 million to the 1,873 lottery retailers around Arkansas.

“The purpose of the Lottery is to produce scholarships,” Woosley said in the statement. “When people have fun playing and have a good chance to win prizes, it drives sales and powers the scholarships.”

Woosley praised the convenience and grocery stores, liquor stores, gift shops, produce markets, newsstands and other Arkansas businesses that sell the tickets.

“Without our retailers, we wouldn’t sell a single ticket or fund a single scholarship,” he said. “Prizes drive sales, and the more sales, the more scholarships.”

Lottery sales began Sept. 28, 2009, with the program generating an average of $7.9 Million per month in scholarships for Arkansas students.

But Jerry Cox, executive director of the Little Rock-based Family Council and a frequent and vocal critic of the lottery program, disputes the touted benefits. He says the program pulls more money out of regions and towns than it replaces with revenue or scholarships.

“It is important to realize that anytime anyone talks about the amount of money that goes for scholarships, that 80% of lottery proceeds do not go for scholarships. … That’s the untold side of the lottery, that it pulls a lot of money out of your local economy,” Cox said. “At the end of the day, it pays out the lowest percentage of any lottery for its designated purpose in the country.”

Most of the lottery money goes to prizes, administration and marketing. Using data presented during a 2011 Arkansas Legislative meeting, Cox said the national average among states with lotteries is that 31 cents goes to scholarships. In Arkansas, the amount is roughly 20 cents that go to scholarships.

“If we’re going to have a lottery, we’re at least looking for a more responsibly run lottery,” Cox said, stressing that the Family Council remains opposed to the program.

Following are some of the details on Northwest Arkansas and Fort Smith area counties from the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program report.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS
• BENTON COUNTY
Scholarships
Citizens of Benton County have received 5,791 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas. In addition, 776 scholarships went to John Brown University and 2,328 scholarships went to NorthWest Arkansas Community College, totaling 3,104 scholarships awarded to Arkansas students at Benton County institutions.

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Benton County alone have reached $20.082 million.  These include prizes as large as $500,000.

Business support
Lottery sales through 80 retailers in Benton County have earned the retailers $2,184,045 since the first ticket was sold in September 2009. Top Benton County retailers are Jiffy Kwik on South Arkansas and Kum & Go 401 on New Hope Road in Rogers; Kum & Go 399 in Lowell; and the Kum & Go 405 on Moberly and Murphy Express 8555 in Bentonville. Total lottery sales in Benton County have reached $39 million since operation began.

• CARROLL COUNTY
Scholarships
Citizens of Carroll County have received 463 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas.

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Carroll County alone have reached $6,304,776. These include prizes as large as $500,000.
 
The 21 retailers in Carroll County selling lottery tickets have earned $552,775 from ticket sales since the first ticket was sold in September 2009.  Top Carroll County retailers are White Oak on Main, Murphy USA on Trimble, and Trimble Food Mart in Berryville; and Powell's One Stop and Main Food Mart in Green Forest. Total lottery sales in Carroll County have reached $9.87 million since operation began.
 
• MADISON COUNTY
Scholarships
Citizens of Madison County have received 495 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas.

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Madison County have reached $2.643 million  These include prizes as large as $250,000.

Business support
The eight retailers in the county selling lottery tickets have earned $218,889 from ticket sales since the first ticket was sold in September 2009. Top Madison County retailers are Tobacco World, Fuel Zone and Chana's Corner in Huntsville. Total lottery sales in Madison County have reached $3.908 million since operation began.

• WASHINGTON COUNTY
Scholarships
Residents of Washington County have received 6,299 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas. In addition, 16,128 went to the University of Arkansas with 16,128 scholarships and 325 to Ecclesia College.

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Washington County alone have reached $37.928 million.  These include prizes as large as $1 Million, along with two at $250,000, one at $200,000, and three at $100,000.

Business support
The 104 retailers in the county who sell lottery tickets have earned $3.586 million since the first ticket was sold in September 2009. Top Washington County retailers are Murphy Express 8513, One Stop Shell, and Kum & Go 406 in Springdale; Fast Trax 9 in Fayetteville; and Green Oak Center in Farmington.  otal lottery sales in Washington County have reached $64.038 million since operation began.

FORT SMITH REGION
• CRAWFORD COUNTY
Scholarships
Citizens of Crawford County have received 2,256 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas.

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Crawford County alone have reached $13.286 million. These include prizes as large as $1 million.

Business support
The 26 retailers in the county who sell the tickets have earned more than $1 million since the first ticket was sold in September 2009.  Top Crawford County retailers are Cedar Creek One Stop, Ken's Stop & Shop, and Kum & Go on the Alma Highway in Van Buren, and Shell Superstop and Hilltop Travel Center in Alma. Total lottery sales in Crawford County have reached $19.898 million since operation began.

• FRANKLIN COUNTY
Citizens of Franklin County  have received 693 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas. In addition, 254 scholarships were received by Arkansas Tech University-Ozark.

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Franklin County alone have reached $5.144 million. These include prizes as large as $30,000.

Business support
The 16 retailers in the county who sell the tickets have earned about $440,000 on ticket sales since the first ticket was sold in September 2009. Top Franklin County retailers are Tobacco Town, Pig Trail Liquor and Webb City Conoco in Ozark; Bear Tree Gift Shop in Charleston, and Handy Mart in Altus. Total lottery sales in Franklin County have reached $8.795 million since operation began.

• LOGAN COUNTY
Scholarships
Citizens of Logan County, who have received 818 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas.  

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Logan County alone have reached $7.761 million. These include prizes as large as one at $500,000, one at $250,000, and three at $100,000.

Business support
The 20 retailers in the county who sell the tickets have earned more than $600,000 since the first ticket was sold in September 2009.  Top Logan County retailers are Big Red Corner Store, Tobacco Town, and Circle S Food Store in Paris, Porky's One Stop in Scranton, and Jam Mart in Booneville.  Total lottery sales in Logan County have reached $12.008 million since operation began.

• SEBASTIAN COUNTY
Scholarships
Citizens of Sebastian County  have received 4,418 scholarships to go to college anywhere in Arkansas.  In addition, 5,481 scholarships were received by the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Lottery payments
Total lottery prize payments in Sebastian County alone have reached $23.1 million. These include prizes as large as three at $200,000.

Business support
There are 90 retailers in the county selling lottery tickets, and they have earned $2.282 million since the first ticket was sold in September 2009.  op Sebastian County retailers are, by location: Pic N Tote 6, 5, 1 and 4 in Fort Smith; Big A's in Barling; EZ Mart 199 in Lavaca; Flash Market 183 in Greenwood; and Hugs and Biscuits in Hackett. Total lottery sales in Sebastian County have reached $41.632 million since operation began.