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New York’s Gambling Proceeds Support Public Education

New York’s lottery is not just a draw-based game for people to try to get rich from, as its proceeds also provide substantial funding to the state’s public education system. Chair of the New York Racing and Gaming Commission, Brian O’Dwyer is promoting a new campaign, which aims to raise awareness on how much money from gambling goes to education in the state.

According to Empire State, gambling proceeds from lottery are distributed to local districts based on the same statutory formula used to provide other state aid to education. It takes into consideration both a school district’s size and its income performance. Therefore, larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of the lottery school funding.

Raising Awareness

Mr. O’Dwyer explained that a recent survey showed that most New Yorkers are not aware that money generated via lottery goes to the state’s public schools. He said he wants locals to play the lotto but to do it responsibly and added that he wants the local population to know that every dollar they put into the lottery is a win for the children from the state.

Meanwhile, education official, Robert Lowry shared that lottery aid accounts for only 5-10% of total education funding but it is still vital. He elaborated that it is part of what schools can use to pay teachers, utility bills, maintain buses, and more. Mr. Lowry, a deputy director for the Council of New York School Superintendents said it is paid in part of a payment schedule set in law.

According to Mr. O’Dwyer for this year alone, gaming has provided over US$55 million in revenue for Empire State schools. He remarked responsible gambling is fun and that locals have a long tradition of it. In his words, the state has managed to take that tradition and take it out of the hands of organized crime and put it back into the pockets of New Yorkers.

However, funding to schools is not all that the lottery provides, as it also aids small businesses that sell lottery tickets. Stores receive 6% of each sale, and in 2024, this has brought them US$8.9 million. The commission also reminds that there is 24/7 support for problem gambling by calling the New York State OASAS HOPEline at 1-877-846-7369 or texting 467369.

Problem Gambling is a Concern

In the meantime, concerns over problem gambling have grown stronger and lawmakers are taking steps to reduce the risks. U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko introduced a bill titled Betting on Our Future Act in Congress to ban predatory online sports wagering ads on all TV, radio, website, and other platforms. He wants to remove such ads, just like tobacco promotions were banned a while back.

However, experts and politicians are right to be worried about the increase in problem gambling, as online sports betting continues to surge in popularity in the Empire State. For its second year of operations, it has brought in around US$862 million in tax revenue. Thus, shattering the first year’s result when online bets contributed nearly US$700 million in proceeds.

Source: Camera, John “How much state gambling revenue goes to New York schoolsSpectrum News 1, March 1, 2024