BUSINESS

Lottery a win for local and state residents

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
This Cash 5 lottery ticket was not a winner in the Monday, July 16, drawing. In fact, none of the five numbers was a match, unlike the ticket purchased by a group of friends in June. The checks have begun arriving for the 25 winners who split half a million dollars. And 30 cents from this losing ticket still went to a good cause, benefiting programs for older residents in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Lottery paid off big time for a winning Cash 5 ticket in the June 4 drawing. The payout was $502,114 on a $1 ticket sold at Earl's Market in State Line. However, since the tab belonged to a group, 25 friends in all, no one walked away set for life. Each member, from Franklin County and beyond, ended up with about $15,000 after taxes.

Linda Stoler, State Line, spokesman for the crew, said the people were connected as past or present employees of Citizens National Bank, now called Susquehanna Bank. She has coordinated the weekly chance at fortune for 20 years. In 2000 the group won $37,000, and in the long term is ahead of the money they have contributed for tickets.

The 2012 win was ironic, said Stoler. She put $24 on Match 6 tickets, which cost $2 each, and used the last dollar on Cash 5. Even the lottery officials were surprised with their luck.

And while the local folks can have fun with their extra money, other people are also benefiting from Pennsylvania's lottery system.

Proceeds

For every $1 ticket sold, 30 cents goes to programs serving older residents in Pennsylvania. Money comes back to Franklin County, and eventually into each municipality in one way or another. Records from 2010-11 show that the county received $9.2 million. Local lottery winners took an extra $13.1 million home, and retailers earned $1.2 million in commissions. That means the Franklin County economy was boosted by $23,694,489.

The Franklin County Area Agency on Aging was the recipient of nearly $1.9 million. Director Traci Kline said much of the funding went toward transportation and programs at senior activity centers.

The Shared and Free Ride Program, operated from an office at 201 Franklin Farm Lane in Chambersburg, received $389,000. Lottery monies pay for 85 percent of the transportation costs of residents age 65 and over who make a reservation for a van ride to medical appointments, grocery shopping, or other destinations. They get door-to-door service for a $1.50 co-pay each way. Kline said her agency even subsidizes that and pays the 85 percent for seniors 60-64.

She depends on the lottery revenue to support food programs. Meals are served at the senior centers, and others are delivered to homes of people who can't get out.

"If anyone buys a lottery ticket, it is money well-spent," she said. Without the return to the county, "the impact would be severe."

People would have increased expenses for transportation, in-home services for personal care would be cut drastically, and the meal programs would stop entirely or be quite limited, said Kline.

Other services

The Area Agency on Aging also advises residents on other programs served by lottery proceeds. Over $2.6 million went to Property Tax and Rent Rebates last year, administered by the Department of Revenue. Kline's office helps people fill out the applications. Based on income, people 65 and over can get rebates up to $975. The Pace/Pacenet plan, beneficiary of nearly $3 million, offers low cost prescription medications. Long-Term Living Services received $1.2 million to give information to seniors and caregivers on assistance in daily activities such as bathing, dressing and meals, and where to find facilities and support. Examples of what people can learn are the names of adult day care centers in Franklin County, and direction on drafting wills.

The Pennsylvania Lottery was established in 1971 by the legislature and to date has generated $21.5 billion in sales, resulting in $960 million for programming. It is the only lottery in the country which designates its proceeds to older residents.