A new Nebraska state audit shows Department of Revenue employees received free meals, movie tickets and admission to a golf tournament from vendors and other groups that work with the state Lottery.
State Auditor Mike Foley said Tuesday that the expenses deserve legislative attention. He says the charity golf tournament in May was problematic because employees played during normal work hours in Nebraska City, a two-hour round trip from Lincoln.
Nebraska Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald says the expenses were all legal, and blown out of proportion in the audit.
Ewald says the audit found no improprieties. He says such meal costs have declined consistently over the last five years, and the golf outing was part of a fundraiser the Lottery had advertised to fight problem gambling.
The audit found the Lottery’s assets went down substantially between Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011. Assets in 2010 were $12.1 million. It fell to $10.8 million in 2011. Liabilities grew slightly from $7.1 million to nearly $7.6 million between the two years.
Overall, sales were higher and revenues increased by more than $1.3 million. The Nebraska Lottery has seen steady grown in ticket sales since 2007. However, the audit noted that the increase may not be sustainable given the unpredictability of the games, their jackpots, and non-related items such as the economic situation and fuel prices.
Next year, Powerball tickets will be increased to $2 a ticket.
To read the State Auditor’s letter to Nebraska Lottery management, click here.
To see the overall audit, click here.