Proposed Bill Would Change How OK Lottery Funds Education

Monday, April 17th 2017, 5:02 pm
By: Dave Davis

A bill headed to the State Senate would change the way the Oklahoma lottery funds education, and the lottery commission is convinced it will mean bigger prizes and millions more for schools.

The Oklahoma Lottery Commission is all in on House Bill 1837 - which would change the formula on how they give money to education.

The new bill, which has already passed the House, would set aside $50 million of annual net profits from lotto sales for education. Anything above $50 million would help fund Pre-K through third-grade reading initiatives or STEM programs.

The current lottery-education funding system is based on a flat percentage.

The state lottery commission said the new law will allow them to offer bigger prizes, which, they said, research shows drives better lottery sales.

As it stands now, the commission projects paying out $225 million to education in the next five years. If the law passes, their projection goes up to $335 million in the next five years.

We asked spokesperson Jay Finks about concerns lottery money may prey on the less fortunate to fund education - he said he won't convince somebody if they don't agree with gambling, but said the state lottery is here and they have, and will continue to support education.