Last Modified: Friday, June 08, 2012 7:05 PM
I recall when the lottery was approved in Louisiana, one of the main selling points was that the revenue would help fund education in the state. Where can one find where and how Louisiana Lottery revenues are spent?
Check the Louisiana Lottery Corp.’s website, which includes links to quarterly and yearly financial data, or read on.
A news release issued April 30 said the lottery contributed $43.6 million to the state treasury in its third quarter, which runs January through March.
“Thirty-five percent of Lottery proceeds are transferred to the state treasury and dedicated for K-12 public education, with the first $500,000 funding problem gambling programs,” reads the release.
“No other lottery jurisdiction in the U.S. contributes a greater percentage of revenue to its government.”
Additionally, the lottery must forward its surplus money to the state treasury.
According to the Louisiana Lottery Corp.’s financial report for 2010 and 2011, since its beginning 20 or so years ago the state’s lottery has paid $2.4 billion to the treasury.
Of the roughly $6 billion the lottery has taken in over two decades, 50 percent has gone to cover prize payouts; 5.4 percent has gone to retailers; 5.27 percent has gone to cover administrative expenses; and 3.4 percent has been used to pay other costs.
Games and the percentages of revenue they’ve accounted for since the Louisiana Lottery’s inception:
• Instant-win tickets — 41.21 percent.
• Powerball — 23.04 percent.
• Lotto — 15.45 percent.
• Pick 3 — 12.23 percent.
• Pick 4 — 4.75 percent.
• Easy 5 — 1.46 percent.
• Cash Quest — 0.72 percent.
• Daily Millions — 0.15 percent.
• Raffle — 0.13 percent.
• Rolldown — 0.10 percent.
The use of lotteries to fund government operations dates from antiquity. Han Dynasty officials in China used one to finance work on the Great Wall. And Augustus Caesar, who took control of Rome in the first century B.C., used one to pay for municipal repairs.
“The next clear record of this sort of commercial lottery is found in the town records of the Burgundian town of L’Ecluse, where, in 1420, a lottery was used to raise money to strengthen the town’s fortifications. ...,” John Scarne writes in “Scarne’s New Complete Guide to Gambling.”
“The first public lottery paying money prizes was La Lotto de Firenze, which began in Florence, Italy, in 1530, and was soon followed by similar drawings in Genoa and Venice to raise funds for various public projects.”
The British used lotteries in the late 16th and early 17th centuries to help finance public works and the colonization of the New World, and the Dutch in New Amsterdam used one in the late 1600s to help the poor.
Even the Founding Fathers got into the act, using lotteries to cover the costs of cannons, finance work on Boston’s Faneuil Hall and pay for mountain roads. But not all their lottery plans proved successful.
“The Continental Congress in 1776 voted a lottery to raise $10 million to finance the Revolution,” Scarne writes. “There were to be 1 million tickets selling at prices from $10 to $40 with prizes ranging from $20 to $50,000, all prizes over $50 to be paid in government notes redeemable after five years.
“The scheme was abandoned,” he notes, “when it was realized that the population was less than 4 million and most people couldn’t afford the minimum $10, let alone $40. The wealthier ones who could were mostly Tories who had no desire to aid the rebellion.”
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email email@example.com