Missouri Veterans Asking Legislators For 10% Of Lottery Proceeds

Missouri veterans have rallied together in hopes of convincing state legislators to consider lottery funding for their causes.

The Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations (MAVO) is seeking 10% of Missouri Lottery proceeds in order to fund veterans’ needs. That would mean some revenue from fast cash lottery games and others would be funneled to these veteran groups.

On Tuesday, vets from across the state joined together in Jefferson City at the Missouri Capital Rotunda in hopes of drawing support from legislators.

Missouri Lottery gave $425 million to education in FY23

MAVO president Troy Williams has been outspoken about the efforts to get Missouri veterans more funding.

He spoke to 93.9 The Eagle this week on what they are seeking from legislators:

“100% of the gaming from Missouri Lottery goes to education, 100%. What we’re asking is 90% go to education, 10% be allocated to (the) Missouri Veterans Commission to spend the way they need to spend it for their operating expenses.”

Currently, 100% of Missouri Lottery proceeds are awarded to educational funds. Since 1986, nearly $8 billion has been contributed to public education through the lottery.

For fiscal year 2023, more than $425 million was generated for education through the state lottery. That was the highest total for a given year to date. Total lottery sales for FY23 were just under $1.8 billion.

If 10% of last year’s revenue were given to MAVO, that would be $42.5 million in funding.

Missouri lawmakers have no bills introduced to meet the veterans’ request.

MAVO determined to get funding through state gambling

The Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations has been vocal in its efforts to bring in more funding in 2024.

MAVO aims to fully fund the Missouri Veterans Commission with the lottery proceeds. Williams claims that last year, the MVC had to dip into its general fund for operation costs:

“The Missouri Veterans Commission had to go to the general (revenue) fund, general fund for the state, and ask for $50 million. That’s how much they were short on operating costs. So, there’s a definite problem.”

MAVO has set forth four key legislative goals for 2024, according to its website:

  • Fully fund the MVC and transfer its personnel services to funding by general revenue.
  • Advocate for additional funding to increase Veterans’ Service Officers and their pay to include Grant Partnership Veterans Organizations Service Officers to help ensure Missouri’s 425,000 veterans receive the benefits they have earned through their service.
  • Enhance Real and Personal Property Tax exemptions for 100% of disabled veterans.
  • Allocate the first 10% of internet gaming revenue to the Missouri Veterans Commission.

Missouri veterans currently receive funding percentages through riverboat gaming in the state. However, that funding continues to decline. In 2013, it was at $30.5 million. But that has dropped to $11.8 million in 2022.

Internet gaming is not something Missouri legislators are currently considering, which is why MAVO is directing its focus to the state lottery.

Other state lotteries use exclusive games to fund causes

While most lotteries use proceeds to benefit education in their respective state, some have created special games to help other groups in need.

Louisiana currently has a bill up for consideration that would see a scratch-off game created to benefit veterans. Proceeds from the proposed title would go into a Veterans Game Fund to be given back to veterans programs in the state.

Louisiana also has suggested creating games for senior citizens and persons with special needs, as well.

The Illinois Lottery has six current retail scratchers that fund issues like cancer research, Alzheimer’s, homelessness, and police memorials. The legislature is considering adding a scratcher that would fund juvenile diabetes research.

 

Photo by PlayiLottery

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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