by Max Brantley
Says here that nobody claimed the $77 million Powerball ticket sold at a Georgia highway stop six months ago, so the money will be distributed to participating states based on percentage of tickets sold on that drawing in each state (about .8 percent in Arkansas.)
I still don't have a clear answer on where this $600,000 or so will wind up in Arkansas. At the urging of then-director Ernie Passailaigue, the 2011 legislature amended the Arkansas lottery law to allow up to $2.5 million in unclaimed winnings to be used each year to promote the game and add to prizes (the theory being this would enhance play overall and increase profits for scholarships.) I have an inquiry out on where the Arkansas lottery stands on using existing unclaimed money and what will become of this windfall. I have been led to believe the $2.5 million is already set aside and this would amount to overage that could go to the scholarship fund. I hope to find out more.
UPDATE: Julie Baldridge, interim Arkansas Lottery director, said she hadn't yet received official confirmation the prize money had not been claimed or a figure on what Arkansas's share would be. My .8 percent estimate comes from this tally of multistate lottery ticket sales. She added:
However, I will recommend to the Commission that the amount go directly to unclaimed prizes and from there to net proceeds and to the Education Trust Fund. It is possible that ADHE may use a part of that for administrative costs, but I expect the Commissioners to prefer to commit all of it to scholarships.
Baldridge adds that my estimate of around $600,000 from total sales could well be reduced by other prizes, commissions and vendor costs on overhead in that particular drawing.