In fiscal year 2016, off ticket sales of $694.9 million, the Washington State Lottery not only paid $432.9 million in winnings to players, it also provided $175.5 million to state program beneficiaries, with the lion’s share going to education.
The enterprise also covers all its own operating expenses.
Of the money directed from Lottery proceeds to state programs, $128.7 million of that $175.5 million went to the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account.
It funds college grants and scholarships, early childhood education, vocational excellence programs, charter schools, and other education programs.
That’s almost three-quarters of the lottery funds distributed to agencies.
Decisions about how to spend the revenues are made by elected state legislators.
In 2010, lawmakers made official their intent for that account:
- “…to direct lottery account moneys toward the Washington opportunity pathways account” and especially toward programs to “…stabilize and increase existing resources for the recruitment of entrepreneurial researchers, innovation partnership zones and research teams, early childhood education, opportunity grants, educational opportunity grants, get ready for math and science scholarships, passport to college promise scholarships, college bound scholarships, the state work-study program, the state need grant, Washington scholars awards, the Washington award for vocational excellence, and Washington promise scholarships.”
Rounding out fiscal 2016 spending of lottery proceeds earned by the state, $11.7 million went to the to the Stadium and Exhibition Center Account (CenturyLink Field), $31.9 million for the General Fund, $2.8 million to the Economic Development Account, and $340,600 to the Problem Gambling Account.