Bill Mandating Lottery Education Funding Level Advances

Feb 28, 2017

Legislation that would mandate what percentage of Georgia Lottery revenue goes to education programs has passed the state Senate.


The bill attempts to restore funding levels to those set in 1993 when the Georgia Lottery Corporation was established.


“Changing the profitability of the lottery by even one percent per year will generate an extra $42 million for the lottery to be paid out in HOPE Scholarships and Pre-K support,” said Sen. Bill Cowsert (R - Athens), the bill’s sponsor.


Under current state law, the lottery is supposed to return "as nearly as practical" 35 percent of proceeds to education.  


But a recent audit from the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts found the figure hadn’t been that high since 1997. 


The audit found the lottery was only returning about 25 percent of proceeds to education programs like HOPE and Pre-K.


Cowsert’s bill would require the lottery to bump up its proceeds by one percent each year until 28.5 percent of revenues go to education.


According to the audit, the lottery’s net ticket sales increased from $1.1 billion in 1994 to $4.3 billion in 2016.