Georgia Lottery Corp. officials today announced an increase in profits for the first half of fiscal year 2012. The Georgia Lottery’s first-half transfer to the Lottery for Education Account brings the total raised for educational programs in the state of Georgia to more than $13 billion since the lottery’s inception in 1993.

Georgia Lottery proceeds to education for the first half of fiscal year 2012 reached $418,534,000, more than $7.4 million ahead of the first half of fiscal year 2011.

“Although we continue to face tremendous challenges, including the current economic climate and soaring gas prices, our team is completely dedicated to our mission of maximizing revenues for education in Georgia,” said Margaret DeFrancisco, president and CEO of the Georgia Lottery. “We continue to introduce new games as an entertainment option for our players, and we are exploring ways to keep our existing mix of games fresh and exciting for players.”

The first half of the Georgia Lottery’s fiscal year spanned from July 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011.

Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corp. has returned more than $13.1 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.3 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1.1 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.