LITTLE ROCK — Revenue collected by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery in fiscal 2018 is exceeding the totals from the same period in previous years, but net proceeds are about average for recent years.
The lottery has provided its latest monthly report to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Legislative Council’s lottery oversight subcommittee.
Large Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots led to $44 million in revenue for January, a $7 million increase over the same month last year, according to the report. But the amount raised for college scholarships, called net proceeds, inched up by nearly $300,000 from the same month a year ago to $8.2 million.
“Any time you see a significant sales increase, what generally follows is a higher prize expense, (and) we saw that this January,” said Bishop Woosley, director of the lottery. “The increase in prize expense had an impact on our proceeds.”
The lottery has helped finance more than 30,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships during each of the past seven fiscal years.
Lawmakers have cut the size of future scholarships several times in recent years because of net proceeds falling short of initial projections and more students getting scholarships than initially expected. Scholarships totaling $93.3 million will be awarded to more than 34,000 students in fiscal 2018, according to the latest projection by the state Department of Higher Education.
Lottery revenue reached more than $287 million during the first seven months of fiscal 2018, according to the report. Woosley has projected the lottery will end the fiscal year with revenue at $459 million.