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Oklahoma Lottery boosts prizes to lure back players

Jul 5, 2017, 7:48 am

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Oklahoma Lottery

Oklahoma lottery officials are rolling out a new series of games after lawmakers restructured the system this year.

The state lottery, which has seen diminished participation with its scratch-off cards in recent years, is now able to increase prize amounts.

As participation dwindled, officials had to shrink prize amounts because state law required that at least 35 percent of all proceeds be diverted to the Education Trust Fund. In 2013, the Lottery lowered payouts so it could comply with the profit margin restriction.

With lower payouts, lottery officials say they lost players.

A law passed this year repealed the mandate. Instead of a percentage, the first $50 million in revenue will be transferred to the fund. Lawmakers also required that administrative costs of managing the lottery not exceed 3 percent of sales.

Any sales above the $50 million mark will be available for legislative appropriation. That money will go to the state Department of Education to implement early reading intervention initiatives or science, technology, engineering and math programs.

By increasing prize amounts, lottery officials hope that former players will buy tickets again.

Lottery Executive Director Rollo Redburn said that within five years, the trust fund could see an extra $110 million more than what the agency estimated without restructuring. The change has been on the agency's wishlist for several years.

Restructuring won't affect multi-state lottery games like Powerball. There will be 16 new and modified scratch-off games, however, including the state's first $10 scratch-off that will pay out as much as $100,000. The new games will replace old tickets over the first two weeks of July.

Eleven more games are planned to roll out later in 2017. Lottery officials said that to improve a player's experience, all free tickets prizes will be converted to cash prizes.

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