Vermont- Vermonters purchase close to $112 million dollars worth of lottery tickets annually, and many may be wondering where does the money go? Our news seven reporter Ryan Jenot spoke with the director of the Vermont lottery to answer those questions.
According to Greg Smith, the Executive Director of the Vermont lottery, the money gets split into three categories. $72-million actually goes to price money for winning recipients, $7-million gets divided up among 700 different lottery agents, $23-million actually goes towards funding for education, $9-million goes towards operating and administrative expenses, and about $1-million goes towards ti-state expenses, and Smith says while looking at these numbers it’s important to see the benefits of playing.
“It’s a pretty strong part of our message that this is where lottery profits go to,” he said, “So someone whose playing the game and doesn’t win, they might say ‘at least I know where the money goes’.”
The most noticeable beneficiary from the lottery could be the education fund. The education fund is a $1.5-billion dollar fund which pays for public school education in Vermont. Bill Talbott, who is the Chief Financial Officer for the Vermont Agency of Education says although it may be hard to distinquish where the money from the lottery goes in the education fund, it still plays a big role in the funding of state education.
“The lottery commission is very pro education,” he said, “He wants people to know that the proceeds of the lottery go to the education fund. You’ll see advertisements on TV where you see that.”
Although proceeds from the lottery go towards education, some may scrutinize it saying that it leads to unhealthy gambling habits. As a matter of fact the North East Kingdom has the lowest average household median income in the state, and more tickets get sold here then in other parts of the state. M&M Beverage in Lyndonville resides in the top 20% for most lottery ticket sales in Vermont, but Smith defends the lottery saying that you can’t control the spending of a consumer.
“98% of us manage (gambling) responsibly. Some people just can’t or don’t. We fund a hotline that people can call, we run a website so people can do evaluations of themselves, and we also run training sessions so that a psychologist or a counselor or something that might be in the town you live in or nearby if you needed help, we can say ‘heres someone to help you’.”
Last year the Vermont lottery report showed that there was an increase in scratch ticket sales from $76-Million in 2014 to $85-million in 2015. Part of the reason for this is because the lottery promotes instant games more than any other product.
“We promote for the most part all of our games in some capacity. The most strongly is the instant ticket games because in a year we’ll sell 50 different instant ticket games of all those price ranges,” he said.
With record lottery sales this past year, Smith forces another successful year.