43 Arkansans win at least $1 million in state lottery program

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 1,063 views 

The Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program may be struggling to make ends meet, but in the the past five years the 43 Arkansans who were million dollar winners through the program should have been able to tie up all loose financial ends.

Randall Irvin from Uniontown, Ark., was the first million dollar winner on Jan. 22, 2010. The most recent was Owen Cochran from Morrilton, who won $2 million on a $20 Gold Rush ticket, according to a press release on Monday (June 17) from the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program. (The 43 winners are listed at the end of this report.

The 43 million dollar winners is a minuscule portion of Arkansas’ estimated 2.966 million  population (U.S. Census, 2014). By percentage the 43 winners are 0.00145% of the state’s population – granted, not all Arkansans are eligible to play.

Also, there are more Elvis impersonators in or near Arkansas than million dollar lottery winners. According to Gig Masters, there are 95 Elvis impersonators in or near Arkansas. Therefore, your chances of running into a guy in a jumpsuit singing “That’s Alright Mama” is greater than striking up a conversation with $1 million winners Robin Wheeler of Alma or Gary Howard of Fayetteville.

The program may need a loan from some of its past winners. Because revenue to the program has dropped in recent years, the Arkansas Legislature recently lowered scholarship awards. Incoming freshmen receive from $2,000 to $1,000. Sophomores would see their funding go from $3,000 to $4,000, while funding for juniors and seniors would continue at $4,000 and $5,000, respectively.

According to figures presented during the recent Arkansas Legislative session, program revenue has dropped from $96 million to around $72 million in recent years. The program needs about $100 million a year to break even.

Proceeds from the lottery program, which began in late 2009, are used to fund scholarships to Arkansas residents to attend public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas. According to the program, more than 168,000 scholarships have been awarded, and as of late 2014 the program had spent more than $450 million to fund the scholarships.

MILLION DOLLAR WINNERS 
2010

Randall Irvin from Uniontown, $1 Million
Harold Bailey from Conway, $25 Million (Bailey took the $12 Million cash option)
Carla Teer from North Little Rock, $1 Million

2011
Mary Dartt from Hot Springs, $1 Million
Robert Atchley from Pearcy, $1 Million
Gene Simpson from Sulphur Rock, $1 Million
Herman Clark from Diaz, $1 Million
Carol Manning from Little Rock, $1 Million
Sharon Jones from Beebe, $1 Million
Randy Wagner from Grubbs, $1 Million
Richard Spencer from Little Rock, $1 Million

2012
Ruth Simcox from Cabot, $1 Million
Mary Harper from Little Rock, $1 Million
April Burnside from Hamburg, $1 Million
Paulette Hodges from Blytheville, $1 Million
Huey Hicks from Prattsville, $1 Million
Frankie Williams from Forrest City, $1 Million
Frank Karnes from West Fork, $1 Million
Tat Sing Wong from Marion, $1 Million
Sherry Miller from DeQueen, $2 Million

2013
Stephen Weaver from Stuttgart, $1 Million
Martha Rusk from Hot Springs, $1 Million
Linda Newsom from Mayflower, $2 Million
Keith Nichols from Searcy, $2 Million
Amy Watson from Searcy, $1 Million
Robin Wheeler from Alma, $1 Million
Billy Bealer from Pine Bluff, $1 Million
Donald Duke from Marmaduke, $1 Million
Kenneth Dennis from Russellville, $1 Million prize

2014
Gary Howard from Fayetteville, $1 Million
Donald Hill from Morrilton, $2 Million prize
Harold Thompson from Little Rock, $1 Million
Miranda Huffman from Lepanto, $3 Million
Nancy Silvers from Berryville, $1 Million
James Osborn from Atkins, $1 Million
David Dahlqvist from Bella Vista, $1 Million prize
Susan Gray from Bryant, $1 Million
Shepeka Floyd from El Dorado, $1 Million

2015
James Brinkley from Brinkley, $1 Million
Driton Krasniqi from Van Buren, $1 Million
Roy Moody from Lonoke, $1 Million
Cynthia Johnson from Pine Bluff, $1 Million
Owen Cochran from Morrilton, $2 Million prize