Since 1999, all Virginia Lottery profits have been used for K-12 public education in Virginia.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the Virginia Lottery had sales of more than $2.3 billion. Of this total, the Lottery generated nearly $650 million, or 28.3% of sales, for K-12 public education (this number represents about 10% of the state’s entire budget for education), 61.1% went back to players in the form of prizes, 5.6% went to the retailers who sell Virginia Lottery tickets, and 5.0% went to operational expenses.

According to VirginiaLottery.com, Accomack County Schools received $3,995,512 from the lottery in the FY2019 allocations, and Northampton County received $1,351,056.

When Virginians voted in 1987 for a state-operated lottery, some people assumed that they voted on how to spend the Lottery’s proceeds. This was not the case. Lottery proceeds, which are approximately one-third of Lottery sales, were to be used as determined by the General Assembly. The use of the proceeds has changed over time. In 1989, Lottery proceeds were dedicated to capital-construction projects. From 1990 to 1998, Lottery proceeds were transferred to the state’s General Fund. Starting in 1999, a state budget amendment sent Lottery proceeds to local public-school divisions to be used solely for educational purposes. In 2000, more than 80% of Virginia voters said yes to the creation of the State Lottery Proceeds Fund. The measure, now a permanent part of Virginia’s Constitution, directs all Virginia Lottery profits to be used solely for educational purposes.

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