Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation Tuesday that could lead to higher Oklahoma Lottery prize amounts and higher revenue to education.
Lottery officials believe the law will spur more purchases of instant-win scratcher tickets, which in turn will boost funding for public schools, CareerTech institutions, colleges and universities.
House Bill 1837 doesn’t affect the multistate lottery games like Powerball, but people who buy scratch-off tickets should see a change in July.
The Oklahoma Lottery will be able to raise prize amounts because the bill repeals its mandatory profit margin. Some revenue from lottery sales goes to the Education Trust Fund. State law requires that at least 35 percent of all proceeds have to be diverted to the fund.
Oklahoma Lottery Executive Director Rollo Redburn said current law restricts how much can be paid in prizes. In 2013, the Lottery lowered payouts so it could comply with the profit restriction. With lower payouts, Redburn said, the Lottery lost players.
“What we have been telling (lawmakers) is if they did not change this law, over the next five years we expected that we would be getting about $25 million less,” Redburn said. “With the law change, we would expect it to be $85 million more, and that’s conservatively.”
That swing in revenue could mean $110 million more to the fund during that time, he said.