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Lottery shortfall

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A new report on the amount of revenue the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery will be able to pass on to Arkansas college students this year finds the final tally is near $4 million dollars less than the revenue projection made by lottery director Ernie Passailaigue in late June on the day of the end of the lottery's fiscal year.

The report, issued July 11 to the Arkansas Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee, shows the amount of revenue that will be transferred to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education for the year stands at $94.2 million dollars. On June 30, the last day of the lottery's fiscal accounting year, Passailaigue told reporters that the amount was projected to be around $98 million, a figure already downgraded from an original 2011 goal of $105 million. Passailaigue said the downgraded projection was due to customers favoring less profitable scratch-off tickets over more profitable Mega-Millions and Powerball games.

Brandi Hinkle, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, said that while the ADHE hasn't seen the report in question yet, the lowered figure shouldn't put any scholarships in jeopardy.

"We based the projections on the number of scholarships and the amount of each scholarship that would be awarded on different variables, kind of a best case and a worst case scenario," Hinkle said. "That amount [$94.2 million] actually comes in about mid-range of what we'd estimated, so it should not impact the number of scholarships or the award amounts of scholarships for this year."

We couldn't reach Passailaigue for comment by press time.

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