Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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June 9, 2014

Busting lottery myths

ASHLAND — Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Arthur "Arch" L. Gleason, Jr. spent Monday’s lunch hour debunking lottery myths and misperceptions for members of the Ashland Rotary Club.

Gleason told club members he has always been a fan of Rotary efforts, as well as his own “30-year odyssey” to become a member of the organization. While his schedule doesn’t allow him to be an active member, he showed his familiarity with the group by saying he hoped his presentation would meet the criteria of the “Four-Way Test” repeated at every meeting.

Striking one of the most common myths about winning a significant lottery prize (at least $1 million), Gleason said the odds of winning are significantly better than the chance of being struck by lightning.

“In 2012 and 2013, 446 people were struck by lightning and 1,014 won a million dollars or more,” he said, citing a nationwide study by Multi-State Lottery Corp.

Gleason said the odds of winning some games is certainly different, noting statistics indicate a 1 in 175,223,510 chance of winning a Powerball jackpot.

Tackling other myths such as “No one ever wins,” Gleason reported the Kentucky Lottery returns 60-cents from each dollar in the form of prizes, with local sales resulting in $6.7 million worth of prizes awarded in Boyd County last year. Kentucky, he said, has also had 18 Powerball winners since the state began participating in the game.

In response to concerns that lottery games “prey on the poor,” Gleason said the average lottery player in Kentucky is typically 35 to 54 years old, with some college education and annual income between $40,000 and $50,000. Tackling the perception that lottery games create compulsive and problem gambling addiction, he pointed out all printed information, including lottery tickets, include the 1-800-GAMBLER telephone number where people can get an independent referal to a Gambler’s Anonymous chapter.

Proceeds from lottery ticket purchases in Boyd County were used to fund 1,105 college grants and scholarships worth $1.7 million for students from Boyd County, Gleason reported. Since 1999, Kentucky Lottery proceeds have been used to fund 16,144 college grants and scholarships for Boyd County students, he said, and 1,152 grants and scholarship, worth $1.2 million, awarded for ACTC students during fiscal year 2013.

Lottery officials do not have any influence on spending grant and scholarship decisions, Gleason said, noting that responsibility goes to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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