Plugging Powerball's $450 million jackpot | Arkansas Blog

Plugging Powerball's $450 million jackpot

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The Arkansas Lottery couldn't be happier that the Powerball jackpot this week is up to $450 million ($304 million in a lump sum.)

Ticket sales are up sufficiently to knock a fair amount off an expected shortfall of sales necessary to meet projections for lottery scholarship revenue. When people buy Powerball tickets — a highly profitable item for the lottery — they also buy more scratch-off tickets.

I deplore the state serving as carnival barker for a sucker's bet. I do so hypocritically. Whenever the net jackpot after taxes tops $100 million — this week it would be $160 million or so — I always buy $2 worth of daydreams.

Here's what the lottery has to say about it:


NEWS RELEASE

A growing Powerball jackpot, estimated at $450 million and adding to an already steady increase in sales, is driving the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s best week since May 2013 and narrowing the gap on proceeds funding Arkansas scholarships.

“In just the first eight days of February, we are already up $1.85 million in our instant tickets and $950,000 for our big draw games,” ASL Director Bishop Woosley said Monday. “Obviously this enormous Powerball Jackpot is getting everyone excited and driving most of our online ticket purchases, and regardless of who wins the Jackpot, it’s a victory for Arkansas college students applying for this year’s Academic Challenge Scholarships.”

Woosley noted that online games have a higher profit margin, resulting in increased net proceeds being transferred to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to fund the scholarships. He added that the boom in sales has narrowed the deficit on scholarship dollars to less than $600,000 below forecast for this point in the fiscal year. “If Wednesday’s Powerball drawing doesn’t produce a winner for the $450 million, we will have a half-billion-dollar jackpot next week,” Woosley said. “The excitement at that point, for a jackpot bigger than the economy of a small country, should help scholarships even more.”

Here’s the first week of February 2015 for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, by the numbers:

· TOTAL SALES: $11,043,508, highest since week ending May 19, 2013, which had sales of $13,065,078.

· INSTANT SALES: $8,266,141, highest since first week of April, 2013, when instant sales were $8,733,395.

· ONLINE GAMES: $2,777,367, highest since the week before Christmas 2013, when the Powerball Jackpot was $636 million.

· POWERBALL SALES: $1,643,258, highest since the second week of August 2013, when Powerball sales were $2,238,854 and the jackpot was $448 million.

· BIG SALES DAY: Powerball sales on Saturday, February 2015 were $587,154, highest since February 19, 2014, when Powerball sales hit $871,596.



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