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Revamped Lottery Means Big Payday for Some Government Programs

Oct. 4, 2006 — Local government programs are the real winners thanks to an improved V.I. Lottery, director Paul Flemming said Wednesday.
He said the amount of money generated by the lottery continues to rise, adding that Lottery officials are "improving the process."
The numbers tell the story. In 2005, the Lottery contributed $700,837 to the Educational Initiative Fund. As of Sept. 30 with the last quarter still to go, the figure totals $3.5 million.
The Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged Program received $345,072 from the Lottery in 2005. For the first three quarters of this year, the total reached $2.1 million.
And the general fund figure for all of 2005 stood at $336,137. During the first nine months of this year, the general fund has received $860,000.
The Lottery did not have figures for earlier years.
The 25th Legislature spelled out how the money would be apportioned.
Flemming said the Lottery did several things to improve the situation.
"We made improvements to the ordinary lottery and we cut costs," he said.
He said this meant not filling vacant positions, cutting back on travel and working with lottery contractors, Southland Gaming and Caribbean Lottery, to resolve problems.
Flemming said Southland Gaming runs the video lottery terminals placed at locations across the territory. He said that Caribbean Lottery oversees activities for Powerball and the Pick Three and Pick Four games played nationally and accessible online by local residents.
He said that 25 percent of the gross revenues from Southland Gaming and Caribbean Lottery go to the Educational Initiative Fund. A total of 15 percent of those revenues go to the Pharmaceutical Assistance Fund.
And he said that 20 percent of the Lottery's profit goes to the general fund. Of that figure, half goes towards education. The other half is split equally among the Disabled People's Fund, the Textbook Revolving Fund, the Summer Youth Employment Program and the general fund.
Flemming said that a survey several years ago showed that the territory lost $98 million a year to lotteries in Puerto Rico and other places.
He said the arrival of the video lottery terminals and other improvements, has increased the number of people playing the local lotteries.
"And more money is being retained in the territory," he said.
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