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New York’s lottery funds education: A win for schools

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  • Staff Report 

New York’s lottery system is more than just a chance for a big win; it’s a significant contributor to the state’s public education funding. Racing and Gaming Commissioner Brian O’Dwyer is spearheading a marketing campaign to inform New Yorkers that their lottery purchases support local schools, aiming to highlight the positive impact of every ticket sold, win or lose. Last fiscal year, the state’s gaming operations funneled approximately $3.9 billion into educational aid, a figure that has been on the rise with the growing popularity of lottery games.

Education officials, including Robert Lowry, deputy director for the Council of New York School Superintendents, stress that while lottery funds account for 5-10% of total education financing, they play a crucial role. These funds help cover essential expenses such as salaries, utilities, and transportation, with allocation formulas designed to ensure that less affluent districts receive more support. This system ensures a more equitable distribution of resources across New York’s diverse school districts.

The state’s lottery, touted as North America’s largest and most profitable, has already generated $55 million for schools this year, according to O’Dwyer. Beyond its educational benefits, the lottery also supports small businesses, allowing them to retain 6% of each sale, which has amounted to $8.9 million this year. O’Dwyer emphasizes the tradition of responsible gambling in New York, framing the lottery as a fun activity that benefits the entire community.