North America and The Caribbean

The New York State Lottery

In the USA, there is a proliferation of state lotteries that are focused on raising funds to support public education from kindergarten to grade 12 level. There is no single national lottery for the United States; instead, individual states license lottery operators according to state and national law. One such lottery is the New York State Lottery, operated by the New York State Gaming Commission.

The New York lottery is the largest and most profitable lottery in North America, and it distributes all of its money to good causes directly into public education. All charitable contributions from the New York State Lottery are distributed among the state’s various school districts. Districts, by nature, will vary in size, location and socioeconomic demographics. As a result, each public school district is evaluated according to its specific needs. As a state-run lottery, it uses the same statutory formula used to distribute other state education funding, considering each school district's size and income level to determine their proportionate share of lottery school funding.

The lottery and the New York State Gaming Commission may well determine the levels of funding to each district, but they have no influence or control of how those funds are specifically directed once disbursed. The income generated for schools by the lottery form a considerable fraction of state funding for education and, as such, is used as required by the individual districts.

Noteworthy achievements

The New York State Lottery was created in 1967 for the specific purpose of raising additional funds for education in the state. Because of its mandate, the lottery is able to provide 100% of its revenue after winnings and operating expenses to the New York school system. Some of the disbursements for 2020 included USD 122 million for Onondaga county, USD 294 million for Suffolk county, and USD 216 million for Erie county. Since the lottery’s inception in 1967, it has provided USD 71.48 billion to education in New York.

Distributing money to good causes

The New York State lottery contributes its money to good causes exclusively to education. All public schools within New York State qualify for financial assistance from the lottery. Distributions are allocated according to an algorithm that takes into account each district’s size and socioeconomics. Larger and/or lower-income districts receive higher proportionate contributions, for example.In 2019, the lottery raised and distributed USD 3.474 billion to schools in the various districts.

About the New York State Gaming Commission and New York State Lottery

In 1966, New York State instituted a constitutional amendment authorizing a government-run lottery, the proceeds of which were to be used in support of education, following a vote that showed over 60% of New Yorkers to be in favor. In 1967, the New York legislature created a division of lottery within the Department of Taxation and Finance. In 2013, the New York Lottery's operations merged with the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to form the New York State Gaming Commission.