Now that voters have approved the lottery, when can we play?

Wednesday, November 3rd 2004, 10:28 am
By: News On 6

The Oklahoma lottery won, but it will be a while before you can buy lottery tickets here. Setting up a lottery won't happen overnight.

Supporters say it won't be too long before Oklahoma education sees the benefits. News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims has more on when the lottery dollars could start rolling in to schools.

An Oklahoma lottery almost didn't make it out of the legislature. But a yes vote from the people has turned Governor Brad Henry's campaign promise into a reality. "We're very excited about the results I want to thank the people many are here tonight who made this a reality."

The Oklahoma education lottery won the election, but a chance at winning a jackpot is still about a year away.

The governor's office looked at other states and they estimate it will take about six months to a year to get the first tickets sold. "We're going to push to get it up and running as quickly as possible and get those revenues for education flowing in but we're gonna do it right."

The first order of business is appointing the 7-member lottery commission, all applicants will have to go through a criminal background check and be confirmed by the state Senate.

Once the commission is in place, they'll be responsible for picking the games, printing up tickets, choosing the vendors, and all other lottery business. But as soon as the tickets go on sale, the governor’s office says schools will see the money.

It still has to go through state lawmakers. But if all goes as planned and the lottery is up and running by November of 2005, Oklahoma classrooms will see lottery dollars by spring of 2006.

Governor Brad Henry: "Is this the end all does this fix everything, no, but it’s a great start a great start.”

The lottery trust fund had more support than the lottery itself. It guarantees lottery dollars will go toward Oklahoma schools, without reducing overall education funding. That law goes into effect as soon as the lottery dollars start coming in.