CLARKESVILLE – The first quarter-century of the Georgia Lottery has been good for education in Habersham County.
In 2018, Habersham County’s 48 Lottery retailers sold enough tickets to fund HOPE scholarships for 861 students at a value of $2,390,324 and 365 pre-k students at a value of $1,496,844, said Habersham County School Superintendent Matthew Cooper.
“In one year, Habersham County raised enough Lottery funds, or contributed enough funds to the Lottery, to sponsor … 861 HOPE scholarships,” Cooper said. “Think about that. In one year, this county sponsored 861 HOPE scholarships. It’s mind-boggling. More than $2.3 million in one year went to the HOPE scholarship in this county alone.”
Cooper presented the statistics during Monday night’s Habersham County Board of Education meeting.
“I am not here to endorse the Lottery or to discuss any moral implications that there may be,” Cooper said. “Those were discussed back in 1994. The fact of the matter is Georgia has one of the most successful lotteries in the nation and we recently received a visit from the director of the state Lottery, and they presented us with this certificate for 25 years of excellence for Habersham County and the Georgia Lottery.”
The HOPE scholarship is not the only program funded by the Lottery.
“Pre-K is also funded by the Lottery,” Cooper said. “A lot of people don’t know this information. You need to know it. In one year, in 2018, Habersham County sponsored 365 pre-K students. That’s a fascinating number.”
During 2018, Georgia Lottery Corp. prizes awarded in Habersham County totaled $10,783,525.
“When you look at the 25-year numbers, it is really, really amazing,” Cooper said. “In the 25-year period, from 1994 to 2018, Habersham County alone sponsored 11,212 HOPE scholarships. What that means is our county is not only sponsoring all of the HOPE scholarship recipients from Habersham County, but hundreds more each year in other counties. You see what these numbers mean. It’s just remarkable!”
Over that 25-year period, the Georgia Lottery Corp. paid out $154,975,476 in prizes to players in Habersham County, paid $16,267,772 in retailer commission to Habersham County retailers, $43,290,046 in HOPE dollars, $20,197,323 in pre-K dollars, and $3,712,426 in capital outlay for the total of $238,443,043 returned to the county.
Currently, the Georgia Lottery offers some 90 instant games and 11 draw/computerized games including CASH 3, CASH 4, Georgia FIVE, All or Nothing, Cash4Life, Fantasy 5, Jumbo Bucks Lotto, Mega Millions, Powerball, Print n Play, and KENO!