Oklahoma will soon have a state lottery, and some Oklahoma City-area store owners were already wondering Wednesday how soon they could buy a lottery machine.
State Question 705, which establishes a state education lottery, was handily approved Tuesday by 64 percent of state voters. Supporters claim the lottery could raise $150 million a year for common, higher and technical education.
However, the lottery itself will take some time to put together.
A state lottery commission must be formed, and a lottery director must be selected. Then, vendors will be required to buy machines that will process and track tickets.
No store owners who spoke to Eyewitness News 5's Terri Watkins on Wednesday knew how to apply for a lottery machine.
Convenience store owner Ben Janloo said he doesn't care as long as he gets one.
"Right in front of here with a big sign & right here where everyone can see it," Janloo said. "Imagine this is the machine right now & right here. You can't see it, but I do -- you do have to use your imagination."
Janloo said he is ecstatic about the lottery for two reasons: first, because it will bring in extra money, and second, because it is intended to help education.
"It's going to help our business -- a small business," he said. "Hopefully, it's going to help our education system, too."
The store owner said he is telling all his customer about his desire to be the first to have a machine. Janloo said he is also ready to convince skeptics.
"Oklahomans are basing their hopes and dreams on a lottery," he said. "There is a thousand other people (who) drive to Dallas every week to purchase tickets & all the money goes to Texas, and we are going to stop it. Praise the lord."
Although he doesn't know when his store will get a machine, Janloo said, it's enough for him to know it will happen.
Gov. Brad Henry said Wednesday that he hopes to have an answer for Janloo and other store owners soon.
Governor Optimistic Lottery Will Start Within Next Year
Henry has yet to outline exactly how the building of a state-lottery program would proceed, but he did tell reporters Wednesday that he believes it shouldn't take more than a year.
"We think we can get the lottery up and running and have the first revenue in for education in six months to a year," Henry said. "It's probably going to be closer to a year."
But there is still much to be done before the lottery machines actually arrive at stores, Henry said.
The governor added that he has a number of administrative tasks to perform before the lottery is actually implemented and running.
"I have got to begin to select the lottery commission members," Henry said. "There are seven members that will govern the operation of the lottery."
Henry and other supporters have said that millions could be pumped into education if participation in the lottery is what they expect.
The language in State Question in 705 clearly states where that money would go.
For every $100 worth of lottery tickets bought, $45 is prize money, while $35 goes into an education trust established by State Question 706 -- a companion proposal that also passed Tuesday. The remaining $20 goes to cover administrative costs.
Henry said there is room to move within the law as far as where funds are allocated. He said the main issue is that the money will go toward helping schools.
"Forty-five percent (goes) to K-12, another 45 percent to higher education or school technology, 5 percent on school consolidation and 5 percent for teachers' retirement," Henry said. "But there is some wiggle room inside those numbers."
Henry added that the "lockbox" provision contained in State Question 706 will ensure that money from the lottery will not be appropriated to other areas by the state Legislature.