LCSN: Lottery works to survive economy, pay for scholarships

March 8, 2010. Retrieved online: March 8, 2010 from Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces Sun-News

As many of you already know, when you grab a dime — or just use your fingernail — to scratch off that brightly-colored lottery ticket, you’re actually helping New Mexicans get an education.

Whether you pick numbers for a drawing game or you like the instant scratch-off tickets, part of the sale of every lottery ticket in New Mexico goes toward college scholarships at the public colleges, junior colleges or universities here in the Land of Enchantment.

As the New Mexico Lottery Web page — nmlottery.com — points out, the scholarships pay 100 percent of tuition for eight consecutive semesters of eligibility beginning with the second semester of college enrollment.

“It’s had a huge impact on freshman enrollment,” said Adriana Binns, director of marketing and communications with New Mexico Lottery.

The lottery, which is 100 percent self sufficient, CEO Tom Romero told me, has helped raise enough money so that more than 61,000 students have gone on to higher education thanks to the help of Legislative Lottery Scholarships.

Still, with the state of the economy the past couple of years, the lottery has felt a pinch.

Romero said that it started even before the recession, when gas prices shot up.

“We did see sales start to go down,” he said.

The lottery had to cut staff to save money.

“It’s been a few rough years,” Binns said.

Draw games, where you pick your numbers, have maintained a strong sales base, but the instant ticket games, what the lottery calls “scratchers,” have dropped, Binns said.

The situation highlights how lottery officials try to keep interest in games high, even during good economic times, but especially when times are tight.

Read the article.


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