The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has started 2015 in fine fashion. Sales are up according to lottery officials.

Riding the wave of two huge national jackpots and a seven-month upswing in instant tickets, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery logged sales of $36,476,593 in January.

“We started 2015 with two online jackpot runs and six months of gradual improvement in our instant ticket sales,” ASL Director Bishop Woosley said Monday.  “Mega Millions got up to $270 million before a winner was picked.  Powerball kept going, and is now estimated at $317 million for Wednesday’s drawing.

The higher that Powerball jackpot goes without a winner, the more people will buy tickets.  And because online draw games like Powerball, Mega Millions, and our own Natural State Jackpot are more profitable, that means more net proceeds to fund scholarships for Arkansas students.”

Instant ticket sales were $29,066,923 last month, 17% over the $24,814,775 total in January 2014 and continuing a steady rise that began in July 2014.  Online sales of $7,409,670, boosted in part by the larger Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots, showed a 20% increase over January 2014’s $6,219,407.

“It’s always nice to have this kind of wind at your back going into the big sales months of spring, Woosley said.  “The instant ticket sales increase is gratifying because we have so much more control over those sales through our current marketing campaign. We’ve also made some aggressive changes to our game portfolio, in keeping with the recommendations of (UK-based lottery consultants) Camelot Global Services in their December report to our Legislative Oversight Committee.

But the big multi-state jackpots also mean more to our bottom line, dollar for dollar, supporting the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship program.”