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Less money for lottery scholarships

Not enough people play the lottery. Sales have slipped for four straight months.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Not enough people play the lottery. Sales have slipped for four straight months.

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley told the Legislative Oversight Committee that the $98 million for lottery scholarships this year is no longer realistic.

“We’ve had quite a few issues over July and August as far as the drought goes and we’ve had some gas prices that are higher than usual,” Woosley said.

The target now: closer to 90 million or a projected 12 million less going to students at Arkansas universities.

“90 million dollars is still a lot to go into college scholarships,” State Senator Johnny Key (R, Mountain Home) said. “So its not so much a disappointment as it is reality. That some of our assumptions didn’t pan out.

Senator Key says after scholarship amounts were cut from $5,000 to $4,500 last year, a likely even larger reduction is on the way for incoming freshman next year.

“Much lower,” Key said. “Probably closer to the less than 3500 hundred dollar range.”

Legislators know an unstable funding amount could make parents think twice about even signing their senior up for a lottery scholarship.

“We need to do something otherwise the scholarship amount is going to get low enough that folks will question the value,” Key said.

And that’s one game the just 3-year old lottery can’t afford to lose.
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