Oklahoma Lottery Commission, State Question 705 (2004)

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The Oklahoma Lottery Commission Act, also known as State Question 705, was on the November 2, 2004 ballot in Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred state statute, where it was approved. The measure created the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to operate a state lottery. The measure determined that 45 percent of revenue would be returned as prizes and that net proceeds of the lottery would go to education.[1]

Election results

Oklahoma State Question 705 (2004)
Approveda Yes 928,442 64.68%

Election results via: Oklahoma Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title appeared as:[2]

This measure creates the Oklahoma Education Lottery Act. It creates the Oklahoma Lottery Commission. The Commission will be governed by a board of trustees. The Commission will operate a state lottery. The board will write rules regarding the conduct of lottery games. At least 45% of the revenue from ticket sales will be returned as prizes. The net proceeds of the lottery will be used for education purposes. Net proceeds will equal at least 35% of ticket proceeds except for the first two years. The act contains provisions relating to the selection and regulation of retailers. This act would lose the force and effect of law under certain conditions. The act contains many other provisions relating to the conduct of a state lottery.


Full text

The full text of the measure can be read here.


In 2003, Sen. Shurden and State Represenative Don Armes authored the Senate Bill 837 to make raffles legal for non-profit organizations, after an Attorney General's opinion had deemed that raffles were Class 3 Gaming, which was illegal in Oklahoma.

When State Question 705 was certified by the State Election Board as passing, it made Class 3 Gaming legal in Oklahoma and the legislation legalizing raffles also became effective on November 9.[4]


According to Sen. Frank Shurden, churches, schools, fire departments, senior citizens groups and other non-profit organizations would be use raffles for fundraising without fear of breaking the law.

“I’ve been working for years so that non-profit groups could use raffles for fundraising. The only way we could make raffles legal again was to tie the legislation to State Question 705, The Oklahoma Educational Lottery Act,” he said.[4]


The proposal purportedly to help education is really fraught with problems, said Rep. Forrest Claunch, R-Midwest City and spokesman for Oklahomans for Good Government. The experience in other states is that when lotteries pass things like school bond issues begin to fail.

He noted that both lottery and casino gambling questions were on the Oklahoma ballot this year with proceeds from both allegedly earmarked for education. Should both measures pass, he said the public will have the impression that a vast source of new funding will be going to schools and said that perception could make the public less supportive of other funding efforts.

"The truth is state questions 705, 706 and 712 will enrich gambling companies, line the pockets of out-of-state gaming machine manufacturers, and put Oklahoma education at risk as people refuse to support bond issues and good ideas for stable, future revenue streams for education; after all, they are being sold as 'the savior' of education," Claunch said. "When government sponsors gambling it promotes the idea that people losing billions of dollars enriches the state. It's as simple as that. It's not about helping children or saving jobs in the horse industry. It's about money and greed."[5]

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