Arkansas lottery sets new records for yearly sales, scholarship proceeds

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 543 views 

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL) closed out the fiscal year 2019 ended June 30 with record sales of more than $516.23 million, which is $16 million over the previous year’s total. ASL Director Bishop Woosley said the state celebrated yearly recording-breaking achievements in other categories, including the amount of proceeds raised for scholarships.

“We broke the previous proceeds record of $97,582,528 set in 2012, which means more scholarship money for deserving Arkansas students this year,” said Woosley. “Under the leadership of Gov. (Asa) Hutchinson and the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) and along with our staff, we have worked hard to continue to operate as lean as possible, maximizing every opportunity to enhance proceeds responsibly, which is our mission.”

After April fiscal totals for Arkansas’ bingo-like gaming sweepstakes were released in early May, state officials reported that games sales would likely exceed the previous record tallies of $500.4 million in sales set in fiscal 2018. Besides record-breaking sales, new records were also set this year in sales of scratch-off tickets and draw games that provide the greatest percentage of revenue to proceeds, officials said.

“We have provided more than $803 million for the Academic Challenge Scholarship program, which equates to more than 542,000 scholarships in our almost 10 years of existence,” Woosley said. “And that number will increase next month when the Arkansas Department of Higher Education awards scholarships to Arkansas students for the 2019-2020 school year.”

More than 92 cents of every dollar of lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions and other expenses in Arkansas. Since 2009, the lottery also has awarded more than $2.9 billion in prizes to players, about $252 million in commissions to retailers and more than $126 million in state and federal tax revenue.

“Our excellent staff worked extremely hard this year,” he said. “Every division played a role in our success.”

Woosley also said ASL recently received Responsible Gambling Certification from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and the National Council on Problem Gambling. The certification involves a multi-step verification program to ensure the lottery provides best practices in training for lottery employees and retailers and treatment options for players who may have a gambling problem, he said.

In a recent interview with Talk Business & Politics, Woosley said there will likely be more than $990 million in lottery scholarships distributed to Arkansas students when ASL reaches its 10-year anniversary in September.

To read the entire financial report presented to the Arkansas Legislative Council Lottery Oversight Subcommittee on Wednesday, click here.