Lottery report details local financial impact


Jefferson County residents have received 2,883 scholarships during the past 3.5 years since the inception of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, according to a report issued Monday by the Arkansas Lottery Commission.

Out of the total number of scholarships awarded to people living in the county, students attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff received 1,139 and Southeast Arkansas College students received 507 for a total of 1,646 scholarships since the lottery’s beginning in September 2009.

“We’re extremely pleased with the way revenues have gone, but it is true that in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012, through the end of February, sales are down $30 million from the year before,” ALC communications director Julie Baldridge said. “Even so, our scholarships are down only $3 million. Considering the dramatic drop in sales, we think a $3 million drop is not nearly as bad as it could have been.”

Baldridge said that in order to mitigate the drop in sales, ALC employees accepted a $750,000 salary cut.

Scholarship amounts for recipients originally were $4,500 per year for students attending a four year college or university and $2,250 per year for those attending a two year college.The Legislature recently adopted legislation changing the scholarship amounts to a tiered structure depending on students’ academic classification. Scholarships start at $2,000 per year for incoming freshmen, and increase each year that a student advances.

To be eligible, high school students must have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and a minimum score of 19 on the ACT college admission test or an equivalent score on an ACT equivalent test including the SAT, ASSET or COMPASS exams.

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 to have their scholarship renewed.

The deadline to apply for a lottery scholarship is June 1.

Prizes

The commission reported that total lottery sales in Jefferson County since September 2009 have reached nearly $70 million and that the total prize payouts have totaled more than $42 million, including amounts of $210,000, $125,000, $120,000 and four $100,000 prizes.

The total amount of prizes awarded was $293.4 million when Arkansas, Cleveland, Grant, Lincoln, Lonoke and Pulaski counties are included.

Retailer benefits

The commission reported that there are 72 lottery retailers throughout Jefferson County that have collectively earned a total of $3.7 million. The top county retailers in lottery sales include four Pine Bluff stores: Big Red Valero on West 28th Avenue; Big Red Fina on South Olive Street; Big Red 115 on East Harding Avenue; Shell Food Mart 5 on Camden Road; and the Tobacco Superstore in White Hall.

The commission reported that lottery retailers are present in Pine Bluff, White Hall, Wabbaseka, Humphrey, Redfield and Altheimer.