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4:55 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

County reaps rewards from Arizona Lottery

Local officials were on hand to accept a $26 million check from the Arizona State Lottery. From the left is County Recorder Joan McCall, Supervisor Tom Sockwell, Arizona Lottery Executive Director Art Macias, Bullhead Mayor Jack Hakim and Kingman City Councilwoman Janet Watson.   SUZANNE ADAMS/ Miner

Local officials were on hand to accept a $26 million check from the Arizona State Lottery. From the left is County Recorder Joan McCall, Supervisor Tom Sockwell, Arizona Lottery Executive Director Art Macias, Bullhead Mayor Jack Hakim and Kingman City Councilwoman Janet Watson. SUZANNE ADAMS/ Miner

Every time someone buys an Arizona Lottery ticket, they not only increase their chances of winning but they increase revenue to local businesses, organizations and government.

Art Macias, executive director of the Arizona Lottery, was in town Thursday to present the county with a check worth more than $26 million - the county's share of the Arizona Lottery pie.

The lottery collected more than $462 million in sales last fiscal year, Macias said. The majority of the money collected, around 56 percent or $257 million, went to the jackpot of prizes.

Some of the money, around $34 million or 7 percent, went back into running the lottery, which has run entirely off of its own funds since it started in 1981.

Around 7 percent or $31 million went back to stores that sell lottery tickets.

The last 30 percent of the lottery income, around $140 million, is divided into seven different funds that help local communities including the state general fund, the state Economic Development Fund, Healthy Arizona, the County Assistance Fund, the Local Transportation Assistance Fund, the Heritage Fund and the Mass Transit Fund.

Some of these funds, such as LTAF and County Assistance Funds, come directly back to the communities to help pay for street improvements, transportation services and more.

Some of the funds, such as the Heritage Fund, are grant programs that counties and local governments can apply to for restoration of historical buildings, the arts and environmental conservation.

The lottery also helps fund education in Arizona through its contribution to the state's general fund.

The lottery is also the sole provider for the Court Appointed Special Advocate program. CASA gets 30 percent of the lottery's unclaimed winnings every year.

But next year, organizations and local governments could be seeing a lot less green from the lottery.

Macias expressed concern over the Arizona Legislature sweeping more of the lottery's profits into the state general fund to help with the more than $800,000 shortfall in the state budget and asked local officials at the meeting to remind their state legislators how much lottery funds helped local communities.