TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A bill filed in the Florida House aims to cut nearly $37 million in funds provided to educational funding each year and instead award it to lottery retailers.
HB 715: Compensation of Lottery Ticket Retailers, filed by Republican Rep. Jim Mooney, aims to provide lottery retailers a slightly bigger slice of the earnings — permanently increasing commissions from 5.75% to 6% for each ticket sold.
According to a House of Representatives Staff Analysis, the increase would account for roughly $37 million annually. Those funds would otherwise go to the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF).
“The Revenue Estimating Conference determined the bill will have a negative recurring impact to the EETF of $37.1 million in Fiscal Year 2023-2024,” the analysis said.
If passed, the bill would take effect on July 1, 2023.
However, the multi-million dollar reduction in funds pales in comparison to the state’s overall revenue earned during Fiscal Year 2021-22.
During the 12-month period, Florida Lottery ticket sales totaled $9.325 billion. Prizes totaled $6.245 billion and retailer commissions totaled $523.1 million. Transfers to the EETF totaled $2.33 billion, meaning the new commission would be an increase of 1.6%.
The Florida Lottery says it is responsible for contributing more than $43 billion “to enhance education and sending more than 950,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.”
“Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $85.8 billion in prizes and made more than 3,500 people millionaires,” the Lottery added.