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Lottery quickly edges toward Farragut
Rapid startup means ‘millions more dollars’ for education

Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Paul announced Monday, Jan. 5, the first lottery tickets will go on sale Jan. 20 — a full three weeks earlier than originally anticipated.

In moving up the Lottery’s launch date from the original date of Feb. 10, Paul noted that additional ticket sales will generate “millions more dollars” in college scholarships for Tennessee students this year.

“All the pieces are in place for a successful early kickoff,” Paul told Lottery board members during a conference call Monday. “That’s good news for Tennessee students who will be attending college this fall on the first Lottery-funded scholarships.”

Paul lauded the efforts of dozens of Lottery employees who were integral in helping make the early startup a reality.

“I’m proud to say this is one of the fastest and most effective U.S. lottery startups in more than a decade,” Paul said. “That’s thanks in no small part to the exceptional team of professionals who are working hard to make the Tennessee Lottery a success for education.”

One critical element in the early startup, Paul said, has been the rapid development of a strong statewide retail network. Lottery employees have been working long hours for weeks to conduct criminal background checks, credit checks and tax checks on thousands of independent and corporate retailers across the state.

By the time tickets go on sale, nearly 3,000 retailers – from Memphis to Bristol – will be installed with the computer terminals and satellite dishes necessary to conduct lottery games. Hundreds of retailers will be added in the weeks to come.

Local retailers in Farragut will include Pilot fuel centers, Weigel’s Farm Stores and Kroger grocery stores to name a few.

Mike Delaguaro of Weigel’s said that the company had applied for licenses for all of its locations including both locations in Farragut.

Scott Baker, director of store operations for Kroger, said from his Atlanta office, “We have applied for licenses at all of our locations. We are just waiting at this point to hear, but we don’t foresee any problems.

“We at Kroger look at selling lottery tickets as a customer service. The tickets will be available at our customer service counter so that those who don’t want to participate won’t have to wait for check out.”

Farragut Kroger manager Kevin Clark said, “We (Kroger) sell the tickets in Georgia” and he sees no reason why Kroger in Tennessee would be any different.

With equipment installation crews working around the clock, the gaming devices have made their way from downtown Knoxville to the Cedar Bluff area and beyond. Installation in Farragut locations is only days away.

Kym Gerlock, spokesperson for the Lottery, said, “Our regional office will be located in the Cedar Springs Shopping Center” on Kingston Pike. “Lottery participants will not only be able to buy tickets at that office, but will be able to cash in winning tickets up to $25,000 at that location. Any winnings above $25,000 and the winner will have to come to Nashville.”

Gerlock said the reception to selling lottery tickets has been very good.

“We have had mostly convenience stores apply,” she said, “but we have also approved licenses for hair salons and even a Good Will Store in the tri-cities area.”

Initially, the Tennessee Lottery will launch with four “instant” games. The colorful tickets, which will contain fields of play that players must scratch in order to win, will offer prizes ranging from a free ticket to $1 million. Additional instant games will be added as time goes on. Within 60 days after instant tickets go on sale, the Lottery will add computerized games in which players will pick numbers prior to televised drawings.

Gerlock said that probably after the first year the Lottery will offer one of the larger prize games such as Power Ball or Mega-Millions.

All Lottery profits will go to education. Most immediately, the Lottery is charged with raising at least $88 million by July 1 in order to fund scholarships for an estimated 65,000 students expected to attend Tennessee colleges and universities next fall.

Currently, there are five scholarships or awards within the TELS program. They are: Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, General Assembly Merit Scholarship, Need-Based Supplemental Award, Tennessee HOPE Access Grant and the Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant.

To qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, students must be a graduate from high school in the class of 2004, be a Tennessee resident for one year, enroll in a Tennessee public college/university or enroll in a Tennessee private college/university that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, score at least a 19 ACT (890 SAT), or have a 3.0 unweighted overall GPA and college core GPA out of a possible 4.0 and all required college core courses.

Other categories of students may also qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship including GED applicants who have a 525 GED score and at least a 19 ACT (890 SAT). Home schooled graduates must score at least a 23 ACT (1060 SAT), or students eligible for a waiver of tuition because a parent in the U.S. armed forces was either killed in hostile action, prisoner of war or is totally disabled.

To qualify for other lottery scholarships, students must qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship. The General Assembly Merit Scholarship requires a 3.75 unweighted and college core GPA and at least a 29 ACT (1280 SAT) and completing required college core courses.

The Need-Based Supplemental Award requires a parent(s) adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less.

A student may receive either the General Assembly Merit Scholarship or the Need-Based Supplemental Award in addition to the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship.

The Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant is awarded to students in a Tennessee Technical Center. There is no GPA or ACT requirement. These students are not eligible for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship.

To retain the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, students must maintain at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA for the first year and a 3.0 cumulative GPA after the second, third, fourth and fifth years. Students must also attempt 24 hours per year.

Normally, students may receive the scholarship for five years or up to 120 credit hours at a four-year approved Tennessee institution. Students who attend a two-year approved Tennessee institution may transfer to a four-year approved Tennessee institution. Students in a five-year program may receive the award for up to 136 credit hours or five years.

Students apply for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship by completing and submitting the free application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA will be available from high school guidance counselors or online at in January 2004 for high school seniors. The priority date for FAFSA completion will be May 1.

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