Q: What are the percentages of net proceeds from the lottery that go to the winners, to the scholarships and to the remaining expenses? Can the percentages be changed so that some of the excessively large winnings could be scaled back to allow more money to go to scholarships and education?
A: The Georgia Lottery Corp. provided this breakdown: prizes, 63 percent; education, 26 percent; retailers, 7 percent; vendors, 2 percent; advertising/marketing/promotions, 1 percent; operating expenses, 1 percent. Increased lottery payouts equate to increased demand, which equates to increased dollars for education, spokeswoman Tandi Reddick told Q&A on the News. “Since HOPE scholarships and pre-k can only be funded with real dollars, not percentages, the Georgia Lottery is working extremely hard to maximize dollars for these important programs,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Dollars, not percentages, are what have allowed 2.4 million students to benefit from HOPE and pre-k.” She said that in fiscal year 1997, the Georgia Lottery returned 35 percent of lottery revenue, or $581 million, to the state for lottery-funded educational programs. That amount rose to $883.9 million for HOPE and pre-k in fiscal year 2010, representing 26.1 percent of lottery revenue. “Lottery case studies repeatedly prove the negative consequences of slashing prize payouts to boost profit. While profit percentages may increase, real dollars to beneficiaries decrease,” she wrote.