Arkansas Lottery sets new revenue and scholarship records in FY2021

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has released its financial results for FY2021 where it has set new records for revenue and fundraising.
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The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has released its financial results for the 2021 fiscal year, setting new records for revenue and fundraising after collecting $632.5m in revenue and raising $106.6m for college scholarships.

According to NWA Online, lottery officials attributed this year’s record numbers in part to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic closing other businesses. As a result, it is already predicting next year’s totals to dip.

The Natural State lottery noted its annual figures in its monthly report to Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Legislative Council’s Lottery Oversight Subcommittee.

Lottery Director Eric Hagler said numerous factors contributed to the lottery’s revenue improving to $632.5m in FY2021 (FY2020: $532m), which ended June 30, including the gaming department offering a games suite that players found enjoyable and the sales team supporting lottery retailers.

FY2020’s result was the lottery’s previous highest revenue figure.

Hagler said in the statement: “With regard to external factors, we have consistently reported throughout the year that a closed economy, limited entertainment options and the effects of federal stimulus funds were producing unprecedented tailwinds for lottery performance.”

The Director added that the lottery’s net proceeds for college scholarships increased to $106.6m in FY2021 (FY2020: $89.4m) because “outsized sales and tight internal expense controls served as the foundation for producing record returns to scholarships”.

Its previous record for the amount raised for scholarships was $98.6m in FY2019.

Operating since 2009, the lottery has helped finance Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships for more than 30,000 college students during each of the past 11 years.

The lottery’s scratch-off revenue grew to $529.3m in FY2021 (FY2020: $452.m), while its draw-game revenue rose to $102.5m (FY2020: $79.1m). Hagler said January and February were strong months for draw-game ticket sales, driven primarily by significant multistate jackpots.

For FY2022, the Director has projected the lottery’s total revenue to drop to $509.2m, and he also believes the amount to be raised for college scholarships will fall too to $88.6m due to the compilation of projections submitted by the lottery’s Gaming Director Mike Smith and its Sales Director Mark Hearn.

Smith said in the statement that “some of the factors that helped to stimulate sales in [FY2021] likely will not be present in [FY2022]. We feel sales will normalise in [FY2022], but remain very competitive”.

Meanwhile, Hearn said the lottery believes that usual sales patterns will return as businesses reopen, along with other forms of entertainment, adding: “The opening of other business, rising fuel and food costs will impact the amount of expenditure capital people have.”