Tag 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

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 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.

On the Cohen vs. Haslam clash over TN Promise

Michael Collins has a review of the clash between Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, over Tennessee Promise scholarships:

“It sounds good — it’s a PR delight,” the Memphis Democrat said. But, “Plato wouldn’t like it. It doesn’t make sense.”

Cohen’s concerns start with the way Tennessee Promise was funded — by taking millions of dollars in reserves from the lottery-funded Hope program. Stripping the money from Hope leaves those scholarships with no room for growth and eventually will kill the program, said Cohen, who as a state senator shepherded the legislation paving the way for the Tennessee Lottery and the Hope program.

What’s more, Cohen argues, Tennessee Promise essentially punishes students who have made decent grades by taking scholarship money away from Hope and giving it to students who haven’t distinguished themselves academically and who are unlikely to complete their degree.

Tennessee Promise was funded by transferring $312 million in reserves from the lottery-funded Hope program and putting it into a new “irrevocable trust” endowment for free tuition at two-year schools. The $312 million is expected to generate interest that will help fund Tennessee Promise in coming years. Future lottery reserves also will be directed into the Tennessee Promise trust.

The transfer of lottery funds into the Tennessee Promise trust left $110 million in lottery reserves for Hope and other programs — $10 million more than state law dictates remain in the reserves.

…State officials insist the lottery will continue to bring in enough money to pay for Hope scholarships, which totaled $279 million in the 2013-2014 academic year.

“This won’t hurt Hope,” said Mike Krause, executive director of Tennessee Promise.

Eligible students can still receive $16,000 in Hope scholarships over four years, just as they could before Tennessee Promise was created, Krause said. The only thing that’s different is how the money is distributed.

The state Legislature decided last year to reduce the Hope awards for freshmen and sophomores to $3,500 per year, down from $4,000 per year. But Hope awards for juniors and seniors were increased to $4,500 per year, a $500 increase each year.

Reducing the scholarship awards in the first two years and increasing them for the last two years was meant to give students an incentive to persist in their studies, “which we think is important,” Krause said.

As for Cohen’s argument that directing future surplus lottery money into Tennessee Promise will ultimately doom that program, Krause says no.

“The Hope lottery scholarship,” Krause said after a long pause, “is going to continue to serve students very effectively.”

Note: Sample previous posts HERE and HERE.

TN lottery sets weekly sales record: $42M

News release from Tennessee Education Lottery Corp.
NASHVILLE – Driven by strong demand for an array of creative instant games and a Powerball jackpot that reached more than $564 million, sales for the week ending February 15, 2015, set a new Tennessee Lottery record. Gross sales of $42,697,488 for the week shattered the previous mark of $41,000,831 for the week ending March 31, 2012.

“Our diverse selection of instant-ticket games is meeting with great success in the marketplace,” said Rebecca Hargrove, President and CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation. “And when combined with the interest generated by a big Powerball jackpot, the recipe for a record week is complete. Best of all, this means more funds for the education programs supported by the Lottery.”

Also contributing to the record week was a strong showing by the drawing-style game, Cash 4, which saw its second best week ever and has increased by 6.2% since this time last year.

About the Tennessee Education Lottery
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation has generated more than $3.2 billion for education in Tennessee. Net proceeds from sales fund specific education programs, including college scholarships, after-school programs and the new Tennessee Promise initiative.

More than 900,000 scholarships and grants have been awarded since the Lottery began selling tickets on Jan. 20, 2004. In addition to the educational beneficiaries, players have won over $7.9 billion in prizes and Lottery retailer partners have earned over $822 million in retailer commissions.

Cohen: TN Promise won’t work

Congressman Steve Cohen, credited with a major role in launching Tennessee’s lottery as a state senator, says in a Tennessean op-ed piece that Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Tennessee Promise” is a well-intentioned plan, but won’s work.

According to recently published data, the highest four-year graduation rate at a community college in Tennessee, at Pellissippi State in Knoxville, is only 22 percent.

The statewide average graduation rate at community colleges is an alarming 13 percent, with some graduating only 6 percent of their students.

Despite these abysmal numbers, Governor Haslam created the Tennessee Promise program, which will funnel students and resources away from four-year colleges and universities and into community colleges using HOPE Lottery Scholarship money that was intended to keep the best and brightest students in Tennessee.

…given the low graduation rates, it seems obvious that we are not going to get more graduates simply by putting more students in our struggling community colleges.

Tennessee Promise will drastically reduce the reserves for the HOPE Lottery Scholarships and take any other excess from the HOPE program, which will make any increase to those scholarships impossible.

Promise also reduces the amount of HOPE Lottery Scholarships to freshmen and sophomores at four-year colleges by $500. Given the state’s stagnation in higher education spending and its reliance on sales tax for funding government services—perpetuated further by the passage of the constitutional amendment banning an income tax—tuition will continue rise.

The purchasing power of the HOPE Lottery scholarships, which were intended to cover full tuition but now cover approximately half, will continue to decrease, becoming more of a stipend.

Rather than directing students to low-performing community colleges, Governor Haslam could have directed the money toward scholarships for promising and accomplished students. I urged him to use the money to increase the lottery-funded ASPIRE grants, which currently provide up to an additional $2,250 per year to students whose family income is less than $36,000.

He could also have raised the income level for the ASPIRE grants so that more middle-income students could benefit. Helping students who have achieved in high school and equaled or exceeded the lottery scholarship criteria is the best bang for the buck for keeping bright students in state and getting them to graduate.