Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s Revenue Soars in January, Helped by $1.35B Mega Millions Jackpot Run
The $1.35B jackpot helps add nearly $12M to college cash
ARKANSAS (February 10, 2023) — Bolstered by a $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot run, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s revenue in January surged from $47.2 million over a year ago to $56.1 million.
As a result, the amount the lottery raised for college scholarships in January increased from $7.7 million a year ago to $11.9 million, the lottery reported Friday in its January 2023 Monthly Disclosure Report to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the Legislature’s lottery oversight committee.
A single ticket-holder in Maine won an estimated $1.35 billion in a Mega Millions drawing on Jan. 13, according to The Associated Press.
Lottery Director Eric Hagler said Friday that game margins with draw game ticket sales are significantly higher than with scratch-off ticket sales.
“Therefore, when draw game sales increase, we see a spike in net proceeds that are a direct result of enhanced margins,” he said in a written statement. “Additionally, the monthly accounting adjustment for cash-to-accrual swung to the positive this month in the amount of $1.5 [million].”
Arkansas’ lottery started selling tickets on Sept. 28, 2009 and has helped finance Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships for more than 30,000 students during 11 of the past 12 fiscal years.
In January, the lottery’s scratch-off ticket revenue increased from $36.9 million a year ago to $39.7 million, while the draw-game ticket revenue increased from $10.2 million a year ago to $16.3 million.
The lottery’s draw-game tickets include Powerball, Mega Millions, Fast Play, Natural State Jackpot, Lucky for Life, Cash 3, Cash 4, and Arkansas LOTTO.
In January, the lottery’s Mega Millions ticket revenue reached $6.3 million — up from $2.1 million a year ago — and the lottery’s Powerball ticket revenue totaled $3.8 million — up from $3.6 million a year ago — according to the lottery’s reports.
Hagler said Friday that the lottery enjoyed “a tremendous game launch in the [scratch-off ticket] category that saw excellent sell-through at the counter.
“Unquestionably, the draw game category was driven by outsized jackpots in both Mega Millions and Powerball,” he said.
“Our players have been very fortunate this year to see life-changing jackpots offered, and they responded accordingly at the till,” Hagler said. “While we did not have an Arkansan win the top prize, we were pleased to see winners in Arkansas who won tier prizes, including a $100,000 and several $50K Powerball prize winners in January.”
He said the initial jackpot for the lottery’s newest game, Arkansas LOTTO, continues to rise and is currently rolling at $1.5 million, but he’s not sure how to explain why nobody has won the jackpot yet for this lottery’s game that started in September 2022 “as winning combinations are a result of statistical odds.
“The more combinations of numbers that are played, the greater chance of the jackpot being hit,” Hagler said. “The game is still in its infancy having been launched in September 2022. Our research indicated that players wanted a draw game that rolled beyond $1 [million] and that is only sold in Arkansas, and we delivered just that. We are seeing excellent sell-through and the comments I have personally received indicate that our players are enjoying playing a new Arkansas-only draw game.”
January is the seventh month of the fiscal year 2023, which started July 1, 2022, and ends June 30, 2023.
During the first seven months of fiscal 2023, the lottery’s revenue totaled $359.2 million, an increase from $337.3 million in the same period in fiscal 2022.
So far in fiscal 2023, the lottery’s scratch-off ticket revenue is $270.5 million, down slightly from $275.6 million in the same period in fiscal 2022, while the lottery’s draw game ticket revenue is $88.2 million, up markedly from $61.2 million in the same period in fiscal 2022. The lottery also collects fees from retailers.
During the first seven months of fiscal 2023, the lottery has raised $65.3 million for college scholarships — up from $54.4 million in the same period in fiscal 2022.
At the end of each fiscal year, the lottery transfers the balance of its unclaimed prize reserve fund, minus $1 million, to scholarships. The lottery’s unclaimed prize reserve fund totaled $7 million on Jan. 31, after receiving $379,546 in unclaimed prizes in January.
For fiscal 2023, the lottery projected total revenue of $535.9 million and raised $91.4 million for college scholarships.
Hagler said the amount the lottery has raised for scholarships so far in fiscal 2023 is $17.9 million ahead of its projected budget.
As for whether the lottery expects to raise more than $100 million for college scholarships in fiscal 2023, he said “in the gaming world, there are no guarantees so I will not speak in absolutes.
“Regardless, if the current fiscal year trends remain in play, we are on track to raise $100 [million] for college scholarships in FY23,” Hagler said.
In fiscal 2022, the lottery collected revenue of $580.2 million and raised $99.7 million for college scholarships. They were the second-largest amounts the lottery has reported in any fiscal year, trailing only fiscal 2021 when the lottery collected revenue of $632.5 million and raised $106.6 million for college scholarships.
Lottery officials attributed the records set in fiscal 2021 in part to factors brought on by the covid-19 pandemic, such as people spending more time at home.
SOURCE: Extract from Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.Tags: Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, $1.35B Mega Millions Jackpot Run, Eric Hagler, college scholarships