Special to SEGAZINE
Publishers Clearing House asked their fans what they know about the Georgia Lottery in a Dec. 29 post on their PCHlotto Facebook page. And they shared what they knew about it, including the state’s $1.13 billion national record achieved in its first year of sales, as well as the $360 million generated for three educational programs as a result. But that was the first year of the lottery. Much more money has been made since. But there is bad news too.
The three educational programs that benefited from the Peach State gambling effort consists of Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program, a Pre-K Program and technology grants for schools. And to date, the official Georgia Lottery site says these three programs have received as much as $14.8 billion of the money raised through their efforts.
But it hasn’t been all good news where the state’s lottery is concerned, even if a Georgia lottery winner recently claimed $121 million after taxes this year. Proceeds to fund education, specifically to the HOPE Scholarship Program, took a serious turn backwards, with projections showing the program would be out of funds by 2013.
In an effort to stop that from happening, Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers reduced the overall payouts students would receive in order to keep the lottery-funded program solvent. They also tweaked the program’s too-generous attitude towards students who repeatedly slipped below the required “B” average required to maintain aid.
So how can a state who receives billions of dollars in revenue suddenly venture towards insolvency for an educational program that helped sell the gambling option to voters in the first place? Rising tuition costs at Georgia colleges and universities allegedly.
Publishers Clearing House Lotto Facebook fans appear to be less informed about the state lottery than Georgia insiders, with some of them answering the social site question by saying they wish their state had such a lottery they could win. Others appeared more knowledgeable about the lottery, questioning why Georgians aren’t more upset that education is receiving less of the proceeds now, when education concerns are what made the state’s citizens approve the measure in the first place.