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Oklahoma Lotteries

In April 2003, the Oklahoma Legislature passed HB1278, which established the Oklahoma Education Lottery (ELA), and on 2 November 2004, the state-run lottery was overwhelmingly approved by the voters. Separate legislation and a voter referendum created the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund (ELTF) and set up a fund for distribution of lottery proceeds toward educational purposes. Voters approved this question as well on the November ballot. The Oklahoma Lottery launched its first instant scratch games on 12 October 2005, and then Pick 3 on 10 November and Powerball on 12 January 2006. Games currently offered by the ELA include Pick 3, Lottery Pick 4, Lottery Cash 5, Mega Millions, Powerball and Hot Lotto.

The Oklahoma Lottery Commission oversees lottery operations. The Commission is governed by a seven-member board appointed by the governor. The Commission is required by law to transfer 35% of all lottery proceeds to the ELTF, which is distributed by the state treasurer so that 45% benefits K-12 public education; 45% benefits state tuitions, loans and grants; 5% benefits the Teachers' Retirement System Fund; and 5% benefits the School Consolidation and Assistance Fund. The Commission must also transfer the first $500,000 of unclaimed prize money to the state's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse on an annual basis. Unclaimed prize money above that amount is added back to the prize pool for future prizes.

Lottery retailers receive a 6% commission on total lottery sales and 0.75% commission on prizes won at the retailer location. Licensed retailers are the ELA's primary sales and distribution channel. Players must be 18 years of age or older to purchase lottery tickets in Oklahoma, and all lottery tickets must be purchased with cash only – no checks, credit cards or debit cards. Lottery tickets are prohibited from being sold by mail and over the internet.

Oklahoma requires the ELA to deduct certain debts from a lottery winner's prize. The ELA will deduct any debt owed to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (mandated in 2010), the Department of Human Services (DHS) (mandated in 2005), and the Tax Commission (mandated in 2007).

In 2013 and 2014, proposals to privatize the ELA failed to advance in the legislature. The Oklahoma Lottery Commission still runs the ELA.
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