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Oklahoma Lottery Hits Decade Mark

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It was on Oct. 12, 2005, that the state began selling scratch-off tickets, slightly less than a year since voters approved the creation of a lottery to help raise additional funds for education. It was on Oct. 12, 2005, that the state began selling scratch-off tickets, slightly less than a year since voters approved the creation of a lottery to help raise additional funds for education.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma's education lottery has officially hit the decade mark.

It was on Oct. 12, 2005, that the state began selling scratch-off tickets, slightly less than a year since voters approved the creation of a lottery to help raise additional funds for education.

Those who campaigned in favor of the lottery suggested it might generate as much as $300 million annually for education. $150 million was a more realistic figure, but even that turned out to be far in excess of the lottery's true earning potential.

Still, lottery supporters say it has helped.

As of the end of the FY 2015, the 10-year total for lottery sales was $1.95 billion. By law, 35 percent of that has had to go to education, meaning $686 million has been split between higher education and K-12 over the past decade.

Officials say there are several reasons lottery sales haven't been greater. The point, first and foremost, to competition tribal casinos. The also say sales would increase if lawmakers would allow additional games, such as video lottery, and if they would allow them to increase the payouts.

The result is that, not only have sales never hit their original goals, they are now declining. This past fiscal year, total sales were down to $171 million, and the contribution to education was right at $60 million, both down 10 percent from FY 2014.

Lottery officials remain proud of the contribution they have made to education: they say they're doing the very best the can -- selling as many lottery tickets as they can -- with the limitations that have placed on them.

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