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(The Center Square) – The Georgia Lottery collected $30 million more for education in fiscal year 2020 than the previous fiscal year despite the economic downturn caused by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Georgia Lottery Act for Education, net proceeds from the Georgia Lottery help support educational programs in the state.
Georgia Lottery Corp. officials said Tuesday that it collected $1.23 billion for the state’s pre-K and HOPE Scholarship programs for fiscal year 2020. The company collected $1.20 billion in fiscal year 2019.
“Our FY20 results are a reflection of the fortitude and commitment of many,” Georgia Lottery President and CEO Gretchen Corbin said in a statement. “As with all companies, 2020 has been a historic year, challenging us to the max, which makes me even more honored to report this record year of returns for education.”
The 2020 fiscal year, which ended June 30, is the ninth consecutive year of growth in profits for education and the fifth consecutive year the lottery has earned more than $1 billion for the programs.
A little less than a quarter – 24 percent – of lottery revenue supports education, 60 percent is used to pay prizes, and the remaining 16 percent pays retailer commissions, administrative costs and other miscellaneous expenses, according to the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute (GBPI).
Lottery sales dropped in March, but because many retailers were allowed to stay open during the statewide shutdown, the company was able to recover quickly, officials said. They also saw an uptick in online play.
The 2020 profits raised the lottery’s total contributions to education for the past 27 years to more than $22.3 billion, Georgia Lottery said.
More than 1.9 million students have received scholarships, and more than 1.6 million 4-year-olds have participated in the state’s voluntary prekindergarten program because of the funding, officials said.
“With all Lottery profits benefiting Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs, the Georgia Lottery’s monumental success is a milestone to celebrate,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement. “By funding HOPE and Pre-K, the Georgia Lottery continues to help Georgia’s students gain a high-quality education from start to finish, which ultimately makes our state stronger and more competitive.”