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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Iowa Lottery has fourth-best sales year

Lack of record lotto jackpots dull demand
Jul 24, 2017

By Rod Boshart, Gazette Des Moines Bureau


DES MOINES — Without the lure of eye-popping, world record lotto jackpots, sales for Iowa Lottery tickets slipped by more than $14 million in the just-completed 2017 fiscal year, officials said Thursday.

A world-record Powerball jackpot of nearly $1.6 billion in January 2016 created a financial windfall that was hard to repeat during the 12-month sales cycle that ended June 30, even though Iowans bought instant-scratch tickets in record numbers, said Iowa Lottery Chief Executive Office Terry Rich.

Sales of state lottery products topped $352 million in fiscal 2017, generating $80.7 million in proceeds for the treasury — making it the fourth-best year in Iowa history, Rich reported. However, those figures fell short of the state-run gambling enterprise’s fiscal 2016 records of $366.9 million in sales and $88 million in proceeds, according to preliminary figures released by lottery officials.

“The ‘chance factor’ was highlighted this year in terms of the jackpots in our lotto games,” Rich said. “There simply won’t be a world-record jackpot every year. But the lottery is in a healthy position overall and we continue to deliver more than we had forecast for state causes. We understand that lottery results can and do fluctuate over time, which is why we budget conservatively.”

Rich noted that fiscal 2017 marked the fourth time annual proceeds topped the $80 million mark in the lottery’s 32-year history. Last year’s total pushed the lottery’s overall sales past the $7 billion plateau since the state began selling lottery tickets in 1983, with players having won more than $3.9 billion in prizes and proceeds for state programs topping $1.7 billion — including more than $22 million for the Veterans Trust Fund.

Prizes to players totaled $215.6 million in fiscal 2017 — with four Iowans claiming prizes of at least $1 million — while lottery sales commissions to retailers during the year totaled nearly $23 million.

The preliminary figures Thursday show lottery sales last fiscal year were down 4 percent from the previous year’s record. Lottery proceeds to state causes for the year decreased about 8 percent, while prizes to players decreased nearly 3 percent from the previous year, Rich noted.

The lottery’s scratch games achieved record results for a third straight year, with sales totaling $237.6 million — a nearly $4 million increase from last time.

Powerball, without a world-record jackpot during the fiscal year, saw sales fall 27 percent from the previous year’s record performance — from $74.9 million in fiscal 2016 to $54.3 million.

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