A recent Times article stated that Georgia Lottery sales are boosted by many who don’t use lottery-funded educational programs, including Georgia’s lower income residents, its uneducated and its minorities. However, research clearly shows that Georgia Lottery players are representative of the general population.
Studies show that more than 80 percent of all Georgians have played the lottery. Media Audit found that 90 percent of Georgia Lottery players have a high school education, and over half of that number have received at least some college education and beyond.
Georgia’s 10 poorest counties accounted for less than 1 percent of total Georgia Lottery sales in 2009 according to the Georgia County Guide, published by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.
The math doesn’t work to suggest that lottery sales are disproportionately from players with low incomes; $3.6 billion in annual ticket sales cannot be generated from people who don’t have it.
During these challenging economic times, the people of Georgia stand to benefit most from their lottery and the path the lottery provides for educational opportunities.
More than 1.3 million Georgia students have received a lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship or HOPE Grant. Of all HOPE recipients, the largest number of students benefiting are nontraditional students receiving HOPE grants to attend Georgia’s technical colleges.
Additionally, more than 1.1 million 4-year-olds have jump-started their education through high-quality, lottery-funded pre-kindergarten. Studies consistently have found that high-quality pre-K has a lasting impact on a child’s success both in school and in life, regardless of family background or economic circumstances.
With nearly 2.5 million of Georgia’s 9.6 million residents benefiting from HOPE and pre-K, almost everyone in Georgia knows someone who has been touched by these important educational programs. And according to the research, a large majority of Georgians have helped support these programs by purchasing a Georgia lottery ticket.
Georgia Lottery Corp., Atlanta