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Date published: 6/25/2014

Lottery helps schools

While we respect everyone's opinion regarding the Virginia Lottery, we do need to correct some misimpressions in a recent editorial ["A sucker bet," June 13].

The Virginia Lottery turned over to the state more than $486.5 million in profit last fiscal year, every penny of which is required by law to be used by the state for K-12 education.

When Virginians debated in the 1980s whether to have a lottery, backers suggested many possible uses for the profits--including education, transportation, Chesapeake Bay cleanup and others.

But when voters approved the Lottery in 1987, there was no provision on where profits would go.

In 2000, voters said they want Lottery profits to exclusively benefit K-12 education. Since then, the Lottery has generated more than $6 billion for public education in the commonwealth.

Without Lottery funds last year, there would have been a $486.5 million hole in the commonwealth's education budget.

School officials from across Virginia tell us they appreciate Lottery funds. Currently, Lottery money is funding at-risk programs, early reading intervention and algebra readiness, just to name a few.

According to the Department of Education, Fredericksburg received $1,070,157, Stafford County received $5,358,806 and Spotsylvania County received $6,339,026 in Lottery funding.

Furthermore, the editorial states that "the money isn't being made by the gamblers." Actually, Virginia Lottery players won more than $1 billion last year. Just a few weeks ago, The Free Lance-Star reported on a Stafford couple who won a $4 million prize.

John Hagerty

Richmond

The writer is communications specialist, Virginia Lottery.