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State lottery draw game revenues up in May, scratch-offs dip

June 11, 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Lottery saw a surge in revenue for draw games in May compared to a year earlier, but floods caused a dip in scratch-off ticket sales.

The lottery pocketed $41.1 million last month, up by about $700,000 over May 2018, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley credited the revenue boost to large lottery rollover totals and a record state jackpot.

“During May, we had a record Natural State Jackpot, Mega Millions rolled throughout the month and into June to become the fifth highest jackpot in that game’s history, and Powerball’s jackpot grew to be fairly large by the end of the month,” he said Monday.

The Mega Millions jackpot was at $475 million through May 31, while the Powerball reached $350 million. The Natural State Jackpot winner hit $430,000, Woosley said.

But Woosley blamed last month’s $1.6 million decline in scratch-off revenue largely on the bad weather.

“The flooding and the weather near the end of the month understandably had a negative impact on our sales,” Woosley said, adding that some May tickets were sold in April, which also contributed to the decline.

Lottery revenue for the 2019 fiscal year stood at $477.8 million as of Monday, compared to $462.8 million by this time last year, Woosley said. He expects to beat the sales record set last fiscal year by $10-15 million dollars.

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery also saw upticks in funds collected. It raised $8.3 million in May, a nearly $360,000 bump over May 2018, according to the lottery’s monthly report. So far, $84.9 million has been raised for college scholarships in the 2019 fiscal year.

Under state law, the lottery transfers its unclaimed prizes, minus a $1 million balance, to college scholarships at fiscal year-end. The unclaimed prize reserve fund from July 1, 2018, to May 31 totaled $7.6 million. The lottery had unclaimed prizes totaling $727,543 in May.

In fiscal year 2019, 34,488 students received a total of $91.1 million Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships, said Department of Higher Education spokeswoman Alisha Lewis.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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