GARY | The Hoosier Lottery supports economic development, contributes millions annually to public employees’ retirement funds and helps reduce the motor vehicle excise tax Indiana drivers pay.
Sarah Taylor, the Hoosier Lottery’s new executive director, brought that message Tuesday to those attending Gary Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting.
Since its inception in 1989, the Hoosier Lottery has contributed more than $4 billion to “good causes,” Taylor said. In fiscal year 2012, for example, the lottery provided $678 million to the Teacher Retirement Fund and $490 million to the Local Police and Firefighter Pensions, she said.
The largest contribution is to the Build Indiana Fund, which funds local infrastructure projects and reduces vehicle excise taxes paid by Hoosiers by 50 percent.
“Even if you don’t play, you benefit,” Taylor said. “It’s a benefit to all of us.”
More than 60 percent of revenue received from lottery participants is returned to players, she said. Another 7 percent is paid to retailers selling lottery tickets.
“(They) create jobs, pay taxes and contribute to communities’ economic health,” Taylor said.
During fiscal year 2012, Lake County received more than $11.3 million in Build Indiana funds, amounting to $23 per person. Other Lake County numbers presented for fiscal year 2012 include more than $35.9 million paid to players; more than $6.2 million paid to retailers and another $42,470 paid to vendors who provide supplies to the Hoosier Lottery.
That totals nearly $60 million, or $85 per person, living in Lake County, Taylor said.
“The lottery creates economic activity within Lake County, leading to local taxes and secondary spending,” she said.
During good economic times, the Hoosier Lottery takes in more revenue, said Carrie Stroud, the Hoosier Lottery’s director of internal controls and contract compliance, who attended the Gary Chamber meeting with Taylor.
“About five years ago, when the economy declined, our sales were low. The last couple of years have been good years,” Stroud said.
She also addressed concerns about fraud especially with technology.
“Every time we do a draw, an independent auditor observes. The auditor is not connected with us in any way,” Stroud said. In addition, the Hoosier Lottery has a department of security staffed by employees with law enforcement training.