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Oklahoma Lottery revamping after lawmakers pass legislation to increase prizes

Jun 21, 2017, 7:42 am

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Oklahoma Lottery

The Oklahoma Lottery is revamping its products and marketing strategy in light of a recent law change removing the requirement that 35 percent of its profits go to education.

The changes were discussed Tuesday during a meeting of the Lottery Commission.

Supporters of House Bill 1837, which was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin, say the removal of the 35 percent requirement will increase prizes, resulting in more players and more funding for education.

The change in the law means the lottery will be able to provide a projected $335 million to education in the next five years, said Jay Finks, director of marketing and administration for Oklahoma Lottery.

Without the change, the figure would be $225 million, Finks said.

Lottery officials have a goal of increasing sales by 30 percent next year, he said, and they are hoping to increase sales on instant tickets by almost $40 million.

In the past, Oklahoma Lottery prizes were the worst in the nation, resulting in 12 years of lower payouts, Finks said.

Getting players to return to the game is going to involve new marketing strategy, he said.

Lottery officials are in the process of replacing all instant tickets with brand new tickets with higher payouts, Finks said.

Part of the new strategy is to educate players about the changes, he said.

According to research, the public has low confidence that money from the lottery goes to education, Finks said, but the new push will attempt to change that perception.

Because the lottery has now become "a real lottery," it will need more marketing to act like one, said Rollo Redburn, executive director.

Since its inception in 2005 and through the end of fiscal year 2017, the lottery will have given the state $805 million, Redburn said.

Lottery officials have a goal of giving the state $58 million in fiscal year 2018, Redburn said.

The figure is expected to rise to $65 million in fiscal year 2019, Finks said.

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