Category Archives: lottery

TN lottery jackpot winner donates to Democrats, picked as elector

Knoxvillian Roy Cockrum, recently designated as one of Tennessee’s 11 presidential electors by the state Democratic Party, has become a major donor to Democratic political causes since winning a Powerball lottery jackpot in 2014, a review of financial disclosure records indicates.

“He’s a big Hillary (Clinton) supporter,” said Tennessee Democratic Chair Mary Mancini in a telephone interview.

When he won the Powerball jackpot in June of 2014, Cockrum opted to collect the lump sum payout of $153.5 million rather than the $259.8 million payout that would have applied if spread out in annuitized payments.

In a news conference at the time, Cockrum, a 58-year-old bachelor, said he left his native Knoxville for college and after graduation spent 20 years as an actor and stage manager before taking a vow of poverty to serve in a religious order, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal religious community in Massachusetts. He left the order and returned to Knoxville in 2009 to care for his aging and ill parents.
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TN Lottery sets new record for sales

News release from Tennessee Education Lottery
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Education Lottery has closed its Fiscal Year by shattering records throughout the 12-month period, with an all-time high for sales and proceeds for education.

This year’s record sales resulted in a contribution of $394 Million for all education programs funded by the Lottery, a record increase of $46.3 Million, or 13.3 percent, over last year’s record return. This brings the total raised to more than $3.8 Billion since inception.

The Lottery reported a record $1.626 Billion in total sales for the period from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, an increase of $151 Million, or 10.2 percent, over last year’s previous sales record of $1.475 Billion. This brings total sales since inception to more than $15 Billion. Continue reading

On legalizing fantasy sports gambling in TN

Without fanfare, Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill pushed by online giants DraftKings and FanDuel allowing the companies and approximately 1 million Tennessee players who are already participating to do so legally, reports the Times-Free Press. The legislation will create an exemption from state anti-gambling provisions.

Sponsored by Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, the legislation was pushed by the companies here in anticipation of legal trouble after attorneys general in a number of states, including New York, Texas and Nevada, ruled fantasy sports violated their laws.

…Not long after the bill initially passed the Tennessee Senate, state Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued an opinion declaring that fantasy sports are indeed gambling — and illegal under Tennessee law.

While proponents said the online games are based on players’ skill in picking their teams, Slatery said there’s an element of chance and participants stand to gain financially. He said that’s gambling in Tennessee, and it’s illegal. The legal opinion was requested by House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

Early on, DraftKings and FanDuel were taking no chances.

According to filings with the Tennessee Ethics Commission, they hired McMahan Winstead, a Nashville lobbying firm whose clients have included tobacco companies, liquor stores and payday lenders. The companies also enlisted Washington, D.C., lobbyist Scott Ward, who serves as government affairs counsel for the law firm Orrick. And DraftKings hired former House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner.

At least eight lobbyists were registered to speak on the bill.
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Horse racing study launched by legislature

The House approved and sent to the governor today a bill that tales a first step toward setting up a horse race gambling system in Tennessee.

The bill (SB1738) passed the Senate 24-2 on April 7 under sponsorship of Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. It was approved by the House today 50-32 with Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, as sponsor.

The measure sets up a seven-member “State Horse Racing Advisory Committee,” appointed by the governor, that must come up with its recommendations by July 1, 2018.

Horse race gambling was legalized years ago with a state Racing Commission named to oversee licensing and regulation – but no operations were ever established and the commission ceased to exist. In their comments, the sponsors said that one factor was that the state would get 5 percent of all proceeds – a figure they said was too high and discouraged people from investing in horse racing in Tennessee.

Niceley said in committee that he envisions small racing operations around the state at county fairs and the like as well as harness racing and steeplechase events.

Final approval given bill to legalize and tax fantasy sports betting

By Sheila Burke, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Legislature passed a bill that would make clear that fantasy sports betting is legal, but would also regulate it and put a tax on it.

The Senate passed the Fantasy Sports Tax Act on Tuesday, and the bill (HB2105) is now on its way to the governor. The legislation follows a state attorney general issued legal opinion issued earlier this month that said fantasy sports contests are illegal gambling.

The measure says online companies that offer the contests must be licensed by the state. The measure also generally limits players to betting no more than $2,500 per month, unless they can show that the limit should be increased. And it would allow the state to impose a 6 percent gambling tax on the adjusted revenue of fantasy sport operators.
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TN Lottery collects record $119M quarterly profit

News release from Tennessee Education Lottery
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Lottery continues to shatter its own records announcing today the highest quarterly return to education since it began January 20, 2004. The period from January 1, 2016, through March 31, 2016, realized a record return to education of $119.1 million, a 27.2 % increase over the previous quarterly record of $93.6 million set during the third quarter of 2015.

Other notable records broken during this quarter include:

• Highest quarter of Instant ticket sales of $355.4 million
• Highest quarter of Draw-Style sales of $125.7 million
• January, March and February 2016 represent the top three selling months for Total Sales since inception
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Jimmy Naifeh’s kin sell winning Powerball ticket

A West Tennessee couple who claim to have one of the three winning tickets in the world-record $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot appeared on the “Today” show Friday morning in New York, reports the Commercial Appeal.

John and Lisa Robinson of Munford were joined by their daughter and their lawyer on the morning show. The Robinsons will have a one-third share of the jackpot.

They haven’t presented the ticket to Tennessee lottery officials for verification.

John Robinson said he stopped at Naifeh’s grocery store in Munford on his way home from work Wednesday and purchased four tickets.

Naifeh’s Food Market got a $25,000 check from Rebecca Hargrove, CEO of the Tennessee lottery, for selling the winning ticket, reports the Tennessean. The Naifeh family — yes, including Jimmy Naifeh — has operated the store for many years.

From The Tennessean:

Naifeh let her three kids skip school to be a part of the announcement, but her husband, Judson, was duck hunting two hours away. Judson is the nephew of former Tennessee House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh.

…Chester Maclin, a 30-year employee of Naifeh’s, said the last time there was as much media attention in Munford was when Jimmy Naifeh was running for office.

The longtime Democratic legislator was at the announcement to support his family and said he helped push the Tennessee General Assembly to pass the law that created the state’s education lottery.

He served 38 years in the state House until he opted against re-election in 2012. He was speaker from 1991 to 2008, when Democrats lost a majority in the House.

The Naifeh family has owned grocery stores in West Tennessee for nearly a century.

“It’s very exciting,” Jimmy Naifeh said. “It’s real good for the state and good for Munford.”

He added with a laugh: “It’s just a shame we don’t have $1 million payout; I guess those state legislators did that.”

In California stores that sell winning Powerball tickets receive $1 million.

TN lottery posts record sales for 11th straight year

News release from Tennessee Education Lottery Corp.
Posting record sales for the 11th consecutive year, the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation today announced its sales and proceeds figures for Fiscal Year 2015. The Lottery reported $1.475 Billion in total sales for the period from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, an increase of $58.7 Million, or 4.1 percent, over last year’s previous sales record of $1.417 Billion. This year’s sales resulted in a contribution of $347.7 Million for all education programs funded by the Lottery, also a record.

Once again, robust growth in instant ticket sales fueled the record year. Forty-six new instant ticket games were introduced during the year. Sales of these popular games reached an all-time high of $1.2 Billion during FY 2015, amounting to 83 percent of all Lottery sales.

“We work hard developing fresh and innovative games that respond to the market demand and offer value and entertainment for our players,” said Rebecca Hargrove, President and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation. “In so doing, we stay focused on the Corporation’s mission to serve Tennessee students and their families by responsibly raising proceeds for the designated education programs funded by the Lottery. With first-rate support for our retailer channel and the use of best practices throughout the organization, I am proud to report that this approach has delivered record sales for the eleventh consecutive fiscal year.”

Total Lottery funding for education-related programs in Tennessee—including funds used for scholarships, grants, and after-school programs—now exceeds $3.4 Billion since ticket sales began in January 2004.

Since January 20, 2004, more than 900,000 scholarships, grants and dual-enrollment awards have been awarded to Tennessee students, including more than 100,000 during the past academic year alone. Lottery funds are also used to support other education-related activities, such as after-school programs, an ongoing project to make schools more energy efficient, and the new Tennessee Promise initiative.
In addition to the educational beneficiaries, players have won more than $8.4 Billion in prizes and Lottery retailer partners have earned more than $872 Million in retailer commissions.

Bill would bring back bingo for ‘nonpublic schools’

Bingo games to benefit charitable causes, explicitly banned in Tennessee after the 1980s “Rocky Top” state government corruption scandal, could return on a limited basis under legislation approved by a Senate committee.

“There’s nothing inherently evil about bingo,” Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, told the Senate State and Local Government Committee, adding those involved in the FBI investigation that led to more than 50 convictions “could have got into the same trouble” with “reverse lotteries or raffles.”

In the 1970s, Tennessee’s Legislature legalized bingo gambling for charity fundraising. The FBI probe found that many of the charities were bogus fronts for organized gambling activities and state enforcement officials — working under the Secretary of State’s office — had taken bribes and were otherwise actively involved with the gambling.

Secretary of State Gentry Crowell committed suicide in 1989 just before he was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury, which was widely expected to indict him.

The ban on bingo followed and continued even after lotteries were legalized following passage of a state constitutional amendment in 2002. In addition to authorizing a state-run lottery, current law allows charitable organizations to hold an annual event — each approved by the Legislature — that involves some types of gambling for fundraising. But bingo is still explicitly prohibited.

Senate Bill 349 would authorize “nonpublic schools” with IRS 501(c)3 charity status to hold an annual bingo gambling event to raise money, just as they could now for raffles, cakewalks and the like. Niceley said Heritage Christian Academy of Claiborne County asked him to sponsor the bill. Rep. John Holsclaw, R-Elizabethton, is House sponsor.
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Bill implementing Amendment 4 (veterans gambling) heads toward passage

News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
NASHVILLE – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) won approval of legislation in the Senate State and Local Government Committee today to allow 501 (c) (19) veterans organizations to raise funds for charitable purposes.

Senate Bill 325 is the final step in ensuring that Amendment 4 to the State Constitution, which won approval by voters in November, is enacted. The amendment gives veterans groups the same opportunity as 501 (c) (3) organizations to conduct an annual fundraising event like duck races, cake walks, raffles, and other games of chance.

Senator Crowe was the prime sponsor of Amendment 4 and Senator Norris is Chairman of the Veterans Subcommittee of the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

Amendment 4 received 69.6% of the vote, outpacing all other constitutional amendments on the ballot. Any funds raised by the games under the amendment must go to purposes that benefit the community, veterans or retired veterans.

“These veterans groups do a lot of good community service work and the passage of this amendment can help them in their efforts,” said Senator Norris. “Our legislation will allow this process to move forward and will ensure that the deadline affords these organizations enough time to get their applications in.”

Currently, 501 (c) (3) organizations must submit an application and all required attachments between July 1st and January 31st each year for an event which takes place between July 1 and June 30.

“Years ago, when the constitutional amendment allowing charitable gaming passed, our veterans were left out,” said Senator Crowe. “We have been working ever since to change the Constitution so they can raise charitable funds to benefit the less fortunate in our communities, like our wounded warriors.”

The bill now goes to the Senate floor for a final vote.

Note: A final Senate vote, that is. The House bill, sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson, is still awaiting its first committee vote. Little doubt, of course, that it will be approved in due course.