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Mississippi lottery revenues could fall after year three if Arkansas lotto is a guide

LOTTERY: Estimates of the state's new lottery earning $80 million per year for taxpayers uses numbers from Arkansas. Photo illustration by Steve Wilson

If Mississippi's lottery follows that of Arkansas in its first few years in operation, the lottery could earn at least $80 million in its first year according to comparisons with the Natural State, according to analysis of data by Mississippi Matters.

After that, if Arkansas is a guide, revenues will likely fall off after the first three years.

In the Arkansas Lottery's first full year in operation in 2010, it earned $384.5 million in sales and earned $82.9 million for state taxpayers after all expenses had been paid.

By the third year of the Arkansas lottery, sales hit $473 million, but have not hit that peak since. Sales dropped to a low of $409 million in 2015 before rebounding with $456 million in 2016 and $449 million in 2017.

The amount of money the lottery earned for state taxpayers also went down after the initial three years, falling from a peak of $96.8 million in 2012 to a low of $72.8 million.

The Arkansas lottery became law via a constitutional amendment that was passed on November 4, 2008 and ticket sales began on September 28, 2009.

The revenue from the lottery in Arkansas is used for scholarships and grants to citizens of the State of Arkansas enrolled in public and private nonprofit two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

The bill that authorized Mississippi's lottery passed in special session this week after being held over on a motion to reconsider and awaits only Gov. Phil Bryant's signature before becoming law. Once the bill becomes law, Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah will be the remaining states without lotteries.

Mississippi's lottery will send up to $80 million a year for the first decade of operation to the Mississippi Department of Transportation and anything over that will go to the Education Enhancement Fund earmarked solely for pre-Kindergarten education.

There will also be no limits on the salary of the lottery board's members or president, but the meetings of the board will be subject to the state's open meetings act.

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