Inflation, Drying Up Stimulus Lead to Falling Arkansas Lottery Revenue | Arkansas

(The Center Square) – Dwindling stimulus funds and rampant inflation eating away at family entertainment budgets have resulted in a 20% reduction in total Arkansas Lottery revenue, according to the director’s report.

In April 2022, Arkansas Lottery revenue was $51.8 million, up from $65.5 million the previous year, said Eric Hagler, executive director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. Arkansas.

“We pulled out historical numbers that were related to the pandemic,” Hagler said during his report to the lottery’s oversight subcommittee on Wednesday. “Stimulus money in the economy, limited venues, the lottery was basically one of the few forms of entertainment available in the last fiscal year. This year we saw a bit of a different scenario unfold.”

A decline in lottery revenue was expected after unusual highs during the pandemic, Hagler said, adding that those numbers were not sustainable to count on going forward.

“We understood the effects of the stimulus, we understood the effects of the pandemic, and we understood how unique we were and basically benefited from this scenario in our sales,” Hagler said.

Net lottery proceeds in 2021 were $103.6 million, according to the Office of the Arkansas Lottery.

Net proceeds are expected to be $88.6 million for fiscal year 2022, and OAL expects it to be $91.4 million for fiscal year 2023.

“We are going through a severe recession,” Hagler said. “The economy is not retail friendly. We are selling in a retail market and when our retailers are affected, so are we.”

The OAL’s budget, which is self-funded and does not receive taxpayer money, projects total operating revenue for fiscal year 2023 to be $535.9 million, which is below the high of $632 million. $.5 from last year, but higher than the $509.2 million in operating revenue forecast for 2022.

“The way we built the budget was to pull out what we thought was the effect of the stimulus,” Hagler said. “So whatever we felt like federal stimulus dollars, increased unemployment, PPP programs, any of those things that increased liquidity in the economy, we tried to extract them and deal with them. of what we call pure economics.”

Despite what Hagler called a “tough market,” he said the lottery was doing well and expects to deliver the second-best year in lottery history for sales and net proceeds.

Arkansas Lottery net proceeds are expected to be $91.4 million in fiscal 2023, up from $88.6 million the prior year.

“When we look at budget and performance, we’re happy with where we are,” Hagler said.

The lottery funds college scholarships for Arkansas students.

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