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Arizona Lottery A Good Bet

17 July 2006

ARIZONA – As reported by the Arizona Republic: "It was created in 1981, backed by businessmen looking for a tax break.

"Twenty-five years later, the Arizona Lottery has made hundreds of people millionaires while awarding $2.9 billion in prizes. It has contributed more than $1.8 billion to state and local projects and programs, far surpassing the annual revenue hopes of that original group of businessmen. From new roads and bus shelters to programs for neglected children and funding for state parks, lottery dollars have touched the lives of nearly all Arizonans.

"…Unclaimed prizes fund the entire budget for the state's Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, program, which provides volunteers to work with abused and neglected children in state custody. The state's General Fund gets a big chunk, more than $37 million a year.

"And the Heritage Fund, which supports the Arizona Game and Fish and State Parks departments, gets $20 million each year. With deep cuts in parks funding in recent years, the Heritage Fund has played a critical role in supporting the department, said public information officer Ellen Bilbrey. For example, lottery money paid for about one-fourth of the cost to develop Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson…"

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