May 13, 2013 – Mark Treyger, a candidate for city council in the Brooklyn, NY neighborhood Bensonhurst, is wondering what happened to lottery funded scholarships for students across the state.
The New York Lottery made a record $2.9 billion in profits last year, yet the state has not reinstated a scholarship program that awards $5,000 to one student from each high school in the state.
The scholarship program, “Leaders of Tomorrow”, was suspended in 2010.
“It’s an outrage that despite posting record profits, the NYS Lottery cannot find the money to fund this vital program,” Treyger told the New York Post.
State legislators have also been considering relaxing gambling laws or even fully legalizing casino gambling in New York, but Treyger is wary of these negotiations.
“..how are families supposed to trust that they will be protected in that process when an important program funded by [the state lottery] cannot be maintained?” Treyger said.
While state lotteries revenues often fund costly education programs (read about South Carolina’s $27 million surprise here), casino gambling generates tax revenue for states, and can even help state lotteries.
Pennsylvania Lottery officials have seen a sales boost since lawmakers there legalized table games in 2010.
While the future of casino development in New York is still uncertain, few would disagree with Treyger’s opinion on the suspension of “Leaders of Tomorrow,”
“Leaving this scholarship program unfunded hurts our state.”