- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation aimed at increasing some lottery payouts in Oklahoma, a move that supporters hope will increase funding for schools.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/2qEVAAv ) reports the legislation signed Tuesday won’t affect multistate lottery games like Powerball, but that people who buy scratch-off tickets should see a change in July. Lottery officials say they hope the move stimulates sales of instant-win scratch tickets and in turn boosts funding for public schools, CareerTech institutions, colleges and universities.

The new law allows the Oklahoma Lottery to raise prize amounts by repealing its mandatory profit margin. State law had required at least 35 percent of all lottery proceeds to be diverted to the Education Trust Fund, but the changes signed Tuesday remove that cap.

Instead, the first $50 million in net proceeds will be transferred into the fund. Any cash above $50 million would be available for implementing early reading intervention initiatives or science, technology, engineering and math programs.

“What we have been telling (lawmakers) is if they did not change this law, over the next five years we expected that we would be getting about $25 million less,” Oklahoma Lottery Executive Director Rollo Redburn said. “With the law change, we would expect it to be $85 million more, and that’s conservatively.”

Rep. Travis Dunlap was among nearly two-dozen House members who voted against the bill because of policy and moral objections.

“My deal with the lottery is that it’s always going to be an over-promised and under-delivered revenue stream for Oklahoma,” Dunlap said.

Redburn said the Oklahoma Lottery was creating marketing strategies to get people interested in playing again.

“The first year is always the tough one because, with the situation we have now, we’ve lost players that used to play,” Redburn said. “What we’ve got to do is show them that we’re going to have a better product and we’ve got to get their trust back, so they trust the lottery is going to be a consistently performing entity that provides a better product for the players.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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