Lottery Officials Make Anniversary Stop In Payson

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In the 25 years since the formation of the Arizona Lottery, the game has given $1.8 million to Payson and $15.4 million to Gila County.

As part of the silver anniversary celebration for the Arizona Lottery, officials from the lottery office have been touring the state. The lottery's executive director, Art Macias Jr., visited with Ed Blair and John Wilson of the Payson Town Council and Town Manager Fred Carpenter last week to talk about the various programs and projects that benefit from the game's revenue.

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Councilmen Ed Blair and John Wilson hold an oversized check with Art Macias Jr., the executive director of the Arizona Lottery. The check's total represents the amount of lottery money that has come into Gila County during the 25 years the state has offered the contest.

"In fiscal year 2006, $45,552 in lottery transit money came to the town," Macias said. This money was used for the Senior Center transportation program. The town received another $75,014 in fiscal year 2006 lottery funds for other projects.

Over its 25-year history, the lottery has provided $1.9 billion in revenue to the state. That money has gone into the state's general fund and into county general funds. It has gone into the Heritage Fund for parks and recreation throughout the state, along with funding for the arts, culture and historic preservation. Economic development projects, such as the Main Street programs, get money from the lottery. It funds the Court Appointed Special Advocate and Healthy AZ programs as well. Lottery money also funds the state's problem gambling program, Macias said.

The lottery's revenue saw an 18 percent increase in 2006, which is ahead of the state's population growth.

The lottery office has studied who plays the various games it offers.

"The typical player has an average household income of $54,000," Macias said, and 65 percent of the players are college educated.

He said most -- 53 percent --are male, 70 percent are Caucasian, 21 percent are Hispanic and 4 percent are African American.

There are 36 lottery games, Macias said, and 58 percent of the lottery revenue is generated by the sale of scratch games. This month, on March 18, the Fantasy 5 game will become Pick 5 and the top prize will roll over to the next drawing if it is not won. The games are sold at 2,600 retailers throughout the state, but no retailer carries all 36 games.

Macias said, the tickets given retailers and processed are carefully monitored by a computer system. The system can track every keystroke made by the retailers.

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