One week ago Tennesseans amended their constitution to allow for a state lottery. The amendment passed with 58 percent of the vote, possibly meaning big money for Tennessee and big losses for Kentucky.
Each year, Tennessee residents cross over into the Bluegrass state to buy about 76 million dollars worth of lottery tickets. While the lottery is a state wide game, it's bigger in Franklin than anywhere else. Each year convenience stores in Simpson County lead the state in lottery sales. Local business owners say 90 percent of their business comes from those people who cross the Tennessee border.
Last year, the Kentucky Lottery took in $639 million. The convenience stores in Franklin made up 12 percent of those sales. You may be wondering where all of that money goes. Roughly 75 percent of it goes to the winners and to cover the cost of the games. The state gets the rest. More than $80 million went to state scholarship programs, an affordable housing trust fund and an early reading fund. The remaining total, about $79 million went directly into the state's general fund. Although it will affect the state as a whole, Simpson County Judge Executive Jim Henderson doesn't see the loss being detrimental to the community of Franklin.
The lottery issue will be taken up with the Tennessee General Assembly when it convenes in mid-January. Although it will take some time for volunteer state to get their lottery up and running, stores could be selling lottery tickets as early as July.