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Illinois Lottery announces record contribution to schools statewide

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019  |  Article  |  By Jim Moran | The Center Square

Education Funding (36a) , Lottery (61)
The Illinois Lottery made a record contribution to education throughout the state in its most recent year.

The Lottery contributed more $731 million toward the state’s Common School Fund in the past fiscal year, Illinois Lottery spokesman Jason Schaumburg said. In fiscal year 2018, the Lottery put about $718 million into the state's Common School Fund.

“This year’s contribution is almost 2 percent higher than the fiscal ’18 contribution,” Schaumburg said.

Schaumburg said the annual report on the Lottery’s contribution to the Common School Fund is a reminder of “the good the lottery does.”

During the past fiscal year, the Lottery also contributed more $4 million to special causes in the state. These funds were raised through the sale of specialty lottery programs. The specialty causes include Illinois veterans’ services, the fight against breast cancer, multiple sclerosis research, Special Olympics training programs, police memorials and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Lottery officials pointed out that Lottery receipts not only represent funding for schools and other organizations. With ticket sales of about $3 billion, the Illinois Lottery was one of the top five revenue sources for the state last year. In the 2018 fiscal year, more than half of all gambling revenue in the state came from the Illinois Lottery.

Players get the largest payouts from the Lottery. Last year, the Illinois Lottery paid $1.9 billion in prize money to winners across Illinois.

Retailers also get a cut of the winning tickets they sell. Lottery officials said that last year it paid $165 million in commissions and selling bonuses to more than 7,200 Lottery retailers.

Illinois Acting Director Harold Mays said in a statement that the mission of the Illinois Lottery was to “create meaningful returns to the state and make Illinoisans proud of the Lottery.”