The Georgia Lottery is the only show in town when it comes to legal gambling in the state. So it should surprise absolutely no one that the organization is swimming in money.
Between an assortment of scratch-offs and lotto drawings, the Georgia Lottery raked in $367.2 million in profits for the third quarter of the fiscal year.
The January, February, and March total nearly matched the record-setting $367.5 million accumulated during the second quarter of the 2022 fiscal year.
Apart from playing a few different lottery games online there is no other form of legal online gambling in Georgia.
Record profits for Georgia Lottery, the only show in town
It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the Georgia Lottery. And a windfall for the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs, beneficiaries of the state’s lottery profits.
Founded by former Governor Zell Miller in 1993, the HOPE Scholarship has issued scholarships and grants to over two million people. The scholarships help pay for public, private, and technical colleges. It was created in conjunction with the state’s General Assembly. And it was adopted as an amendment to the State Constitution that formally established the Georgia Lottery.
The records keep racking up for the Georgia Lottery since they also posted a $1.54 billion profit to close 2021’s fiscal year.
Georgians love the lottery and COAMs
The narrative in the numbers shows the reality that folks in the state are all-in on gambling. And unfortunately, their only vehicle to do so is the lottery. That’s a state of affairs that isn’t changing anytime soon. Due in large part to the legislature’s inaction during its 2022 legislative session.
GA legislators failed to adopt two measures that would have legalized Georgia online sports betting and established casinos in a state that currently only has one – and it floats off the coast of Brunswick.
That’s not to dismiss or disparage the Georgia Lottery’s contributions in the realm of education. They’re certainly worthy of praise, and I’m sure HOPE Scholarship recipients feel the same. But the state’s existence in the gray area of gambling creates more questions when it’s generating Brinks trucks full of profits every year.
Imagine the financial impact that taxation on legalized gambling could make.
The Georgia Lottery Corporation is also responsible for the approval and issuance of licenses for Coin Operated Amusement Machines. These COAMs operate as somewhat of a quasi-slot machine apparatus. COAMs delivered a record profit for the 2021 fiscal year, bringing in $1.5 billion in profits.
Georgia Lottery benefits from a lack of competition
Suffice to say, the Georgia Lottery is sitting pretty without any legal competition in the state. And they’ll continue to profit if state legislators allow Georgians to have their voices heard on legalized gambling via a ballot initiative.
When would that occur? Well, the earliest possibility is when the House and Senate meet for their 2023 legislative session. That’s another year of legal gambling progress halted. And potentially another session where the same tired arguments are recited to mute the voices of Georgians supporting legal sports gambling.
Until there’s actual movement on gambling legalization in Georgia, the lottery will remain the sole game in the state. And it will presumably continue to report record profits quarter over quarter.
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