The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s Natural State Jackpot (NSJ) set a new record high Friday night with a drawing worth $450,000. That broke the previous record set a day earlier worth $430,000.
The NSJ jackpot starts at $50,000 and increases $5,000 every draw until it hits $150,000, officials say. After that, it increases by $10,000 every draw until someone wins.
Each ticket cost $1 and players are given the choice of choosing their own numbers or getting computer-generated numbers.
Ashley McNatt, marketing and advertising director for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, said the record-setting drawing is a combination of the winning numbers not being called and higher ticket sales for higher jackpots.
“Our sales are showing that it’s doing well so people are buying tickets. We’re seeing some good sales today, but usually Fridays are a good sales day,” McNatt said.
She credits the games’ popularity to it being local.
“With it being the states only draw game, we do have quite a few players who like to play it just because it’s Arkansas’ game and the only in-state game we have,” McNatt said.
Individual ticket sales determine how much money the department will have available to award students, McNatt explained. Along with the NSJ jackpot, the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship raises money for scholarships through the Mega Millions jackpot, which is drawing at $226 million Friday night and the Powerball Jackpot, which is drawing at $229 million Friday night.
“Anywhere from 45,000 to 60,000 scholarships are given out [each school year]. It’s all dependent upon how well our ticket sales do,” McNatt said. “Literally every ticket that gets bought in the state a portion of that goes back to helping college-bound students in Arkansas.”
In the 2021-2022 school year, McNatt said about 56,000 Arkansas Lottery Scholarships were awarded. The scholarship awards students $14,000 over four years, with the amount increasing each year.
Since 2009, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has awarded more than 675,000 scholarships totaling $1.1-billion dollars. The lottery has seen a growth in participation over the past two years. McNatt said it’s difficult to tell whether sales will stay on this pace, noting they saw an increase with the start of the pandemic.
“People were looking for a form of entertainment and the gas stations were open. We’ve been trying to fight those numbers, but our numbers have really been on par with previous years. This is actually going to be our second highest year for sales,” McNatt said. “We are really looking into that daily, because we do expect to see an impact because of the economy and gas prices.”
Winning numbers can be found at https://www.myarkansaslottery.com/.