LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery today announced that total prizes awarded to players in Arkansas have exceeded the astonishing $1 billion mark early Monday.
As of Tuesday morning, the prize total was calculated at exactly $1,001,373,313.
The Arkansas Lottery has been selling tickets for only three years and five months — since September 28, 2009.
Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said the Lottery has produced just over $321 million for the Education Trust Fund to finance 94,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships. He added that the Lottery has sold more than $1.5 billion in tickets and paid commissions of about $85 million to the 1873 Lottery retailers around Arkansas.
"The purpose of the Lottery is to produce scholarships," Woosley said. "When people have fun playing and have a good chance to win prizes, it drives sales and powers the scholarships. That's why we never forget our players. It's been fun to see so many Arkansans win $1,000, $20,000 — or even $2,000,000 or $25,000,000 — since we opened our doors. Surpassing $1 billion in prizes didn't seem possible in 2009. Winning these prizes makes a difference in people's lives."
Woosley praised the convenience and grocery stores, liquor stores, gift shops, produce markets, newsstands, and other Arkansas businesses that sell the tickets. "Without our retailers, we wouldn't sell a single ticket or fund a single scholarship," he said. "Prizes drive sales, and the more sales, the more scholarships."
All net proceeds of the Arkansas Lottery go to fund college scholarships for Arkansas students at in-state two- or four-year institutions of higher learning.