Lottery aids local schools' budgets

In the past, my office has received calls from constituents who wonder how much money the lottery makes for the state and where that money goes. I thought many of you would like to read in more detail about lottery sales. This department is unlike other state departments in that it is focused on sales.

By state law, all lottery profit is given back to education. According to the Lottery's financial statements for 2009-2010, this was a record-breaking year for lotto sales. All sales totaled in 2009-10 were $7.818 billion-a 2.1precent increase from the previous year. This includes traditional lottery ticket sales, scratch offs, quick draw, and Take 5 among other games. Lottery tickets are sold at approximately 17,000 licensed retail locations. There are also eight licensed video lottery gaming facilities located in Saratoga, Monticello, Farmington, Hamburg, Batavia, Tioga, Vernon, and Yonkers. Administrative costs for traditional lottery sales were about $651 million. This figure includes operating expenses, fees paid to gaming contractors, and commissions for retailers.

As you can imagine, the Lottery's biggest expense is prize winners, which totals roughly 80percent of direct expenses. For traditional lottery prizes, this amounted to $3.95 billion. After prizes and expenses were paid, the lottery provided $2.67 billion in aid to education for the 2009-10 fiscal year. This is roughly 12 percent of the state's total education budget. Local schools were able to benefit directly from lotto sales. School Districts in Onondaga County were awarded nearly $102 million from the New York State Lottery Department. In Oswego County, schools were awarded about $33 million.

New York State first began to conduct the Sweet Million drawing in September 2009 and Powerball drawing in February 2010. These sales will also contribute more heavily in the Lottery's next financial report.

Other interesting facts about the lottery:

The Lottery was established in 1967. Since that time, it has earned a cumulative $39.3 billion for education.

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