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Modifying Oklahoma lottery law would benefit education

BY ROLLO REDBURN Published: August 8, 2012

“Nationally, lottery comes up short” (ScissorTales, July 28) provided a reasonable explanation regarding lottery sales in Oklahoma. While your opinion didn't strike me as critical, rather as informative, I'd like to add a couple of things.

First, the Oklahoma Education Lottery was approved by an overwhelming majority as a method of providing additional funding for Oklahoma education programs. That's why the lottery exists under Oklahoma laws. The lottery has provided such funding and expects to reach the $500 million mark early this fall. That's half a billion dollars that education would not have otherwise gotten. Our statutory mandate is to maximize profits for education.

Second, given the environment in which the lottery operates, it's performed amazingly well. Several things negatively affect funding provided to education by the lottery. The state's partnership with the more than 100 tribal casino locations, which have benefits for the tribes and the state, is competition for the entertainment dollars of our players. The lottery isn't allowed to sell in locations that are typically successful lottery retailers, such as liquor stores. Players aren't allowed to use debit cards, which most players carry in lieu of cash, to make lottery purchases.

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