SCEL Uses Birthday To Tout Successes
It's two years and counting for the South Carolina Education Lottery.
SCEL officials celebrated with birthday cake and special promotions at lottery branches across the state.
In the two years since its launch, lottery officials said total sales racked up at more than $1.5 billion.
They also said more than $429 million has gone into the state's education system.
A common misconception, according to lottery officials, is that lottery money goes to fund local schools.
Legislation that established the South Carolina Education Lottery in 2002 specified that 34 percent of its proceeds go to state school districts.
"There are programs that benefit K through 12," said Steward Ellison with the SCEL. "The percentage of that may not be as much as people would like to see."
For the 2003 - 2004 school year, Greenville County Schools got $3 million from the SCEL.
The state requires the district use that money to pay teachers in grades K through 5, as well as instructional specialists, and to fund teachers' professional development.
"There is money going into that, into the K through 12," said Ellison. "You just don't see it as much and there's a lot of schools that it gets filtered down to."
Lottery officials say the task now, after two years, is to keep the business growing.
Ellison said the SCEL must now concentrate on keeping interest levels up.
He said when something is new and fresh people are going to try it.
"You get a lot of play from that (but) historically play has declined over time with maturity of lotteries," Ellison said.
One way the lottery plans to keep business growing, according to Ellison, is by adding another drawing to its Carolina Five game. The game will move to the evening draw time, three nights a week.
A new scratch-off game called Shrimp and Grits will launch in February.