First lottery in the nation. According to the NH Lottery website "State Representative Larry Pickett of Keene saw a sweepstakes as a viable and voluntary method of raising money for education. Between 1953 and 1963, Pickett proposed a Sweepstakes bill five times, finally succeeding in getting it passed in 1963. On April 30 of that year, Governor John King signed the bill. New Hampshire cities and towns voted by special ballot, with 198 of the state’s 211 communities voting in favor of starting a lottery. On March 12, 1964, two days after the vote, Sweepstakes tickets went on sale – and the benefits to New Hampshire schools began."
Since the NH lottery began sale in 1964, close to $1.7 billion have been earmarked for state education funding. A total of almost $5.5 billion in total adjusted gross revenues. A little more than $3.6 billion paid out in prizes.
Here's the breakdown by percentage ( as of January 2013):
- 62% Prize payouts
- 26% To New Hampshire schools
- 6% Retailer commissions
- 3% Other cost of sales
- 3% Administrative expenses
The following is the revenue breakdown over the last 15 years ( note that the total at the end is the all time revenue since the lottery began in 1964)
Does this support the case for casino gambling or hinder it? I'm torn on the subject. Sure we would see more revenue, but what will it be used for? More importantly, close to $300 million is being spent in NH yearly to purchase lottery tickets. If we reverse the equation, that's about $200 million more than is contributed by the lottery for education.
No one is forcing you to gamble. Why not allow NH to increase revenue if people obviously want to gamble their money? The cons that I have heard include the potential for increased crime rates, the revenues are overstated and casino gambling is far more addictive than the lottery. The pros believe that the crime issue is overstated , that it will increase revenue, jobs and tourism and that without increased revenue, more severe budget cuts will be required.
Personally, I am leaning toward a few well placed casinos as I believe the potential benefits to the state outweigh the concerns. The only caveat for me is that if this does come to fruition, the revenue is earmarked to a rock solid current need and not just added to the general fund or used to create new programs.