(The Center Square) — Georgia lottery officials said the program has transferred more than $26.5 billion to the state for education since its inception 30 years ago.
Profits from the Georgia Lottery, which sold its first tickets on June 29, 1993, pay for educational programs. Officials said more than 2.1 million Georgia students have benefited from lottery-funded programs such as the HOPE Scholarship, the HOPE Grant, the Zell Miller Scholarship and the Zell Miller Grant.
Last July, officials said the lottery had raised more than $25.3 billion for educational programs, putting the lottery on track to kick back roughly $1.2 billion during the 2023 fiscal year. If that number holds true, it would be a decrease from the roughly $1.5 billion in profits in fiscal 2022, according to numbers from the Georgia Lottery’s website.
However, a lottery representative told The Center Square that the numbers for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, would not be available until July 15.
“For 30 years, the Georgia Lottery has opened doors for students and their families through its funding of both HOPE and Pre-K programs,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said in an announcement. “Thanks to this transformational state asset, generations of Georgians have enjoyed both a jumpstart on their education and affordable higher education opportunities. The impact of lottery funds is felt by thousands every day, opening doors to opportunity.”
In fiscal 2022, the lottery said it returned nearly $1.5 billion for education, a decrease of $71 million a year earlier.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Senate nixed Senate Bill 57, the Georgia Sports Betting Integrity Act, a bill that would have allowed the Georgia Lottery Commission to regulate sports betting. The bill would have allowed wagering on horse racing, but it would not have allowed casinos or parimutuel wagering.