A record year in lottery gaming has caused the Ohio Lottery to seek a larger state budget in order to tackle changes in consumer gambling habits as gaming expands for the state. For 2016, the state lottery was able to turnover just over $1 billion to education programs which is a record number and over $76 million more than what was provided in 2015.
Lottery officials have warned that the gambling habits of consumers continue to change, especially in Ohio as there are four casinos and seven racinos in operation. Online gambling and fantasy sports must also be considered. Due to these factors, the lottery would like to see an additional $32 million provided to their two year budget. However, Governor Kasich has said that state agencies should prepare for no increase or even cuts to budgets due to shrinking revenues. The lottery would like to have more funds to be able to use for payroll, jackpot expenses and advertisements.
The administration of Governor Kasich will be taking agency budget submissions into consideration but are not guaranteeing they will be adopted when a proposed two year budget will be submitted to the General Assembly in 2017. The date that the budget must be approved by is the 1st of July.
The Ohio lottery was first created in 1974 and since that time has provided $22 billion for state education funds. The amount provided for education purposes in the state has continued to increase each year and grew 7.7% in the fiscal year ending on the 30th of June 2016 when compared to the previous year.
Ohio Lottery Executive Director Dennis Berg sent a letter to Tim Keen, the State Budget Director, pointing out that lottery sales rose for every game during the fiscal year, including an increase in traditional lottery games with sales of just over $3 billion. The games were up over $167 million.
Drawing sales were also up, earning $1.49 billion for the year with instant scratch-offs increasing to $1.56 billion. Additional games saw increases in sale numbers including electronic slots, KENO and EZPLAY electronic games.
In the budget letter, Berg also pointed out that there are other developments at play including the collection of monies from winners who owed tax money to the state or from those who had not paid child support, which came to $900,000 this year. The lottery has also encouraged and expansion for lottery agents to offer credit card and debit card payments for ticket purchasing to be able to increase lottery sales as younger individuals do not carry as much cash as the older generation.