Lottery Raises $68 Million For State Causes Including Veterans Trust Fund
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Lottery raised a record $68 million for state causes during its latest financial year, including more than $3 million for Iowa veterans and their families.
Preliminary figures released Friday also showed that lottery sales totaled $271.4 million in fiscal year 2011, which ended June 30. That marks the highest combined sales total from lotto, instant-scratch and pull-tab games since the lottery's start in 1985.
Lottery players, meantime, took home a historic $159 million in prizes from those core games, a 5.6 percent increase from the previous record prize total from those products set just a year earlier.
Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said it appears that players appreciate the lottery's continued focus on variety in its games and promotions along with changes made over the years to produce more big prizes.
"Each year, we concentrate on bringing new and exciting ideas to the market while keeping an eye on results," Rich said. "The past fiscal year saw Iowa Lottery players get into our promotions in record numbers while at the same time they won eight prizes of at least $1 million in our games.
"But success is not just in dollars," he said. "As always, we concentrate on providing players entertainment value, operating the lottery with integrity, raising money for the state and monitoring the social impact of what we do."
The unaudited figures show the lottery raised more than $68 million in proceeds for state causes during FY 2011, up more than 17 percent from the previous year's $57.9 million. Rich noted that the lottery's profits in FY 2010 had been impacted on a couple fronts that didn't occur in its latest year. In FY 2010, the lottery saw $1.5 million in expenses related to a state employee retirement program that hadn't been foreseen in the lottery's budget for the year; and prize payouts, which are cyclical and vary over time, were ahead of projections for the year.
Rich said that fluctuations are a function of the random nature of lottery games, and something the lottery will continue to anticipate and experience.
"Lottery tickets today remain a secure, affordable, local entertainment option for consumers. That hasn't changed since our lottery's start in 1985," Rich said. "But as we look to build on that success, we must continue to utilize a business model that anticipates stressors such as high fuel prices and cyclical fluctuations in prize claims.
"The task of growth is daunting," he said. "Lotteries grow $1-$2 at a time by offering players value, which we must earn with every ticket played."
Brad Schroeder of Pleasant Hill, an attorney who chairs the Iowa Lottery Board, said he is pleased with the results of the lottery's latest financial year.
"It's the result of the innovations, hard work and efficiencies that characterize the lottery as an organization," he said. "The end result has provided vital assistance for the state causes that benefit us all. Today's tough economic times make every additional dollar raised by the lottery that much more meaningful."
Another highlight of the lottery's FY 2011 results is the $3.1 million it raised for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund to benefit our state's veterans and their families. That's the highest total for the cause since proceeds from select lottery games were first dedicated to the Veterans Trust Fund in 2008. It also is the first time that annual lottery proceeds for veterans' causes have topped $3 million.
"Iowans are committed to this cause," Rich said.
Sales of instant-scratch tickets, the first product introduced by the Iowa Lottery and always one of its top-selling items, rose more than 15 percent to a record $165.3 million for the year. The lottery's previous record for scratch sales had been set just a year earlier, at $143.8 million.
Rich also noted that in addition to the other positive numbers, Iowa businesses also received $17.3 million in commissions from the lottery for their daily work in selling lottery products in FY 2011. That's a $1.2 million increase from the year before.
"In addition, our repeated security compliance checks have revealed an effective retailer system here in our state," Rich said. "Our hats are off to our retailers for the work they do in selling lottery tickets. We're pleased that the lottery's positive impact in Iowa extends beyond the proceeds it provides for state programs."