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In 25 years, Arizona Lottery raised $5.5B

Arizona LotteryArizona Lottery: In 25 years, Arizona Lottery raised $5.5B

It was created in 1981, backed by businessmen looking for a tax break.

Twenty-five years later, the Arizona Lottery has made hundreds of people millionaires while awarding $2.9 billion in prizes.

It has contributed more than $1.8 billion to state and local projects and programs, far surpassing the annual revenue hopes of that original group of businessmen.

From new roads and bus shelters to programs for neglected children and funding for state parks, lottery dollars have touched the lives of nearly all Arizonans.

Thousands of everyday people with visions of Porsches and mansions and early retirement play every week against almost impossible odds, spending about $400 million a year on tickets. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 4.5 million for the Pick and 1 in 146 million for the multistate Powerball jackpot.

Most players have spent way more money on the lottery than they have collected, but a lucky 398 players have won a million dollars or more.

Arizona was the first state west of the Mississippi to sponsor a lottery.  Lotteries are now in 42 states; 14 had lotteries then.

The gaming was backed by businessmen who hoped the lottery could raise a revenue stream of $40 million a year and lead to tax reductions.

There was widespread concern that a lottery would draw organized crime and lead impoverished residents to gamble away their hard-earned cash.

Then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt predicted that a lottery would make Arizona "shabby and lowdown."

Voters approved the lottery, with 51 percent in favor of it.

When the Scratchers tickets went on sale after midnight on July 1, 1981, some stores sold out in minutes.  Within 10 days, 21.4 million tickets were sold.

Since then, the lottery has generated revenue of more than $5.5 billion.

A little more than half of it goes to prizes and about one-third to fund a variety of state and local projects and programs.

Unclaimed prizes fund the entire budget of the state's Court Appointed Special Advocates program, which provides volunteers to work with abused and neglected children in state custody.

The state's general fund receives a big chunk, more than $37 million a year.

The Heritage Fund, which supports the Arizona Game & Fish and State Parks departments, gets $20 million each year.

Lottery Director Art Macias says the agency supports the state's Office of Problem Gambling with $300,000 a year.

Arizona Republic

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2 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by bellyache.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #16612
June 2, 2005
3493 Posts
Posted: July 18, 2006, 11:16 am - IP Logged

I hope Arizona keeps this up rasing their revenue.

    bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

    United States
    Member #12618
    March 18, 2005
    2060 Posts
    Posted: July 18, 2006, 2:27 pm - IP Logged

    When the Scratchers tickets went on sale after midnight on July 1, 1981, some stores sold out in minutes. Within 10 days, 21.4 million tickets were sold.

    This is what I was talking about in another post. I don't believe scratch-offs are going anywhere. It's a popular game to play.

    Dance like no one is watching.