25 Years Of Lottery In Iowa: Billions In Prizes To Winners And Proceeds To State Causes
Iowa's First Lottery Tickets Debuted On Aug. 22, 1985
It was a cool, rainy day during the kick-off celebration for Iowa Lottery sales at
the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 22, 1985. Lottery players, some wearing trash bags to try to stay dry, lined up
to buy the first tickets.
Hear Mary Neubauer, Iowa Lottery VP of External Relations, talk about 25 years of Lottery in Iowa.
To download image, right click on image, then navigate to 'Save Picture As'
to save this file to your computer. Two other images available: First
day of sales at Iowa State Fair image 2 and Mega Millions launch
To download digital audio files of this story, right click here,
then navigate to "Save Target As" to save this file to your computer.
DES MOINES, Iowa - As the Iowa Lottery's silver anniversary
approaches, a look back shows that 25 years of lottery
entertainment in Iowa has produced billions of dollars in prizes
for winners and proceeds for vital state causes.
Legislation authorizing a lottery in Iowa was signed into law on
April 18, 1985, and Iowa Lottery sales began with a kick-off
celebration on Aug. 22, 1985, at the Iowa State Fair.
Over the years, the lottery has created life-changing moments
for prize winners, provided valuable help in the form of sales
commissions to the thousands of Iowa businesses that sell
lottery tickets, and raised significant proceeds for the state
causes that benefit all Iowans.
Here is a look at 25 years of lottery history in Iowa by the
numbers (figures current through fiscal year 2010 unless
- $4.8 billion = Total Iowa Lottery sales
- $2.6 billion = Total prizes won by Iowa Lottery players
- $1.2 billion = Total lottery proceeds to Iowa causes
- $379.2 million = Total lottery sales commissions paid to Iowa
businesses that sell lottery tickets
- $200.8 million = Largest lottery prize won in Iowa to date. Tim and
Kellie Guderian of Fort Dodge claimed that Powerball
jackpot on Oct. 4, 2006.
- 6.4 million = Number of lottery tickets sold during the lottery's
first week of sales
- 2,374 = Number of retail locations in Iowa that sell lottery
tickets (current as of August 2010)
- 1,089 = Number of Iowa Lottery tickets that have won prizes
of $100,000 or more (through August 2010)
- 110 = Number of Iowa Lottery tickets that have won prizes
of $1 million or more (through August 2010)
- 686 = Number of instant-scratch games sold in Iowa from
1985 through present
- 155 = Number of pull-tab games sold in Iowa from the
product's introduction in 1987 through present
- 17 = Number of lotto games sold in Iowa from the
product's introduction in 1986 through present
- 6 = Number of Powerball® jackpots won by Iowa Lottery
players to date
- 6 = Number of Hot Lotto® jackpots won by Iowa Lottery
players to dates
Through the years, there have been a number of lottery "firsts"
- In 1985, the Iowa Lottery achieved the fastest start-up among
U.S. lotteries at the time, beginning ticket sales just 122 days
from the signing of its enabling legislation.
- "Scratch, Match and Win," a $1 instant-scratch game, was the
first product sold by the Iowa Lottery. More than 6.4 million
tickets were sold in its first week of play.
- Bill Watson of Council Bluffs became Iowa's first lottery
millionaire when he won more than $4 million in the lottery's
"Wheel Spin" game on Nov. 14, 1985.
- On Oct. 12, 1987, the Iowa Lottery became the first in the
nation to sell pull-tab tickets, when the "Supreme Cherry Bell"
game began as an experiment in seven counties. Pull-tabs were
introduced statewide later in the year.
- On Feb. 11, 1988, sales in the multi-state Lotto*America game
began in Iowa and six other states. On April 19, 1992, the
world-record-setting jackpot game of Powerball replaced
Lotto*America in Iowa and 14 other states, with jackpots
starting at a guaranteed $2 million. Ed Stanek, who then was
commissioner of the Iowa Lottery, was a co-inventor of the
- On Aug. 15, 1992, total Iowa Lottery sales passed the $1 billion
mark. And in March 2006, total Iowa Lottery proceeds to the
state topped $1 billion.
- The Iowa Lottery became the first in the United States to offer
a scratch game played on a personal computer when sales in
Treasure Tower began on Oct. 16, 2000. Combining a traditional
scratch game with CD-ROM technology, Treasure Tower also was the
first lottery product to offer built-in parental control.
- In October 2004, the Iowa Lottery became the first in the world
to sell an electronic version of the traditional instant-scratch
game that packs dozens of plays onto a single card for more
playing time. Each electronic game card, about the size of a
driver's license, was battery powered and loaded with dozens of
- On Sept. 10, 2007, the Iowa and Kansas lotteries became the
first in the United States to offer a joint instant-scratch
game. Players in both states bought tickets and competed for
prizes in "Midwest Millions." The initial run of Midwest
Millions was successful and the two lotteries have since sold
two more versions of the game.
- And on July 14, 2008, sales began in "Stars & Stripes," the
first Iowa Lottery game to benefit our state's veterans and
their families. In March 2008, legislation was signed into law
that authorized the lottery to create two new instant-scratch
games and two additional pull-tab games each year, with all
profits from the games dedicated to the Iowa Veterans Trust
Here is a breakdown by program of how more than $1.2 billion in
lottery proceeds have benefitted state causes (from fiscal year
1986 through the end of FY 2010):
Within the state budget, the general fund provides money to a
variety of vital projects in Iowa. Some of the programs that
receive money from the general fund include education, natural
resources, health and family services and public safety. The
Governor and the Iowa Legislature allocate money from the
general fund based on where they believe those funds are needed
most. Since 1992, Iowa Lottery proceeds have been directed to
the general fund.
Iowa Veterans Trust Fund
The Iowa Veterans Trust Fund was created to provide assistance
to qualified veterans and their families. The Veterans Trust
Fund helps pay for expenses such as job training or college
tuition assistance; some dental, vision and hearing assistance;
and individual or family counseling programs. Proceeds from some
lottery instant-scratch and pull-tab games have been dedicated
to the Veterans Trust Fund since 2008.
The Iowa Plan was a long-term economic development program. The
Iowa Plan was divided into four basic areas: a Jobs Now program
designed to put people to work; government construction
programs; community and economic betterment; and educational and
agricultural research. Lottery profits were dedicated to the
Iowa Plan from fiscal year 1986 through fiscal year 1990.
The CLEAN Fund stood for Committing the Lottery to Environment,
Agriculture and Natural Resources. The program dedicated money
to environmental and cultural causes. Lottery profits were
dedicated to the CLEAN Fund during fiscal year 1991.
Iowa Gambling Treatment Fund
The Iowa Gambling Treatment Program provides treatment,
counseling and outreach programs for those concerned about
gambling as well as the 1-800-BETSOFF helpline. The Iowa Lottery
is committed to responsible play and helps address the issue of
problem gambling. Each year, the lottery provides the public
with information about 1-800-BETSOFF by including messages about
the helpline on millions of lottery tickets, brochures and
point-of-sale materials as well as other publications. The Iowa
Lottery also provided more than $15.7 million to the Iowa
Gambling Treatment Fund. In 2009, the Gambling Treatment Fund
was eliminated, with the Gambling Treatment Program now
receiving its funding from the state General Fund.
A portion of lottery profits through the years have been
earmarked for specific purposes within the state budget.
Captions for photos:
- On Aug. 22, 1985, Iowa Lottery employees Jeff Borron and Mary
Kay Zaver wore "moneybags" costumes on a stage at the Iowa State
Fair as they joined the crowd in cheering the start of lottery
- It was a cool, rainy day during the kick-off celebration for
Iowa Lottery sales at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 22, 1985.
Lottery players, some wearing trash bags to try to stay dry,
lined up to buy the first tickets.
- Powerball® and Mega Millions® are two of the biggest games
today for the Iowa Lottery. Lottery CEO Terry Rich (center) was
joined by television personality Mike Pace (left) and Treasurer
of State Michael Fitzgerald on Feb. 2, 2010, at the state
Capitol to mark the start of Mega Millions sales in Iowa.