Press Room

FY 2012: Unique Year Yields Record Lottery Returns To State, Prizes To Players

Lottery Core Products Have Another 'Jackpot' Year, Players Win $182 Million In Prizes

DES MOINES, Iowa - Fiscal year 2012 has gone into the books as a jackpot year for the Iowa Lottery, with banner results from the lottery's core products combining with some unique circumstances to produce record lottery returns to worthy causes and total prizes to players.

"We feel incredibly proud of the success we've achieved and the extra help that means the lottery provided for state causes," Lottery CEO Terry Rich said. "The stars definitely aligned for the lottery during the past 12 months. Our goal is to provide a base of $60 million in annual proceeds to state causes and we knew this year would be good, but, 'Wow.' And although it may be some time before we see results like this again, bottom line, it was just a phenomenal year."

Preliminary figures released Tuesday show that the lottery generated a record $78.8 million in proceeds to state causes from core products and $9.9 million in state withholding from prizes won in Iowa, including the $241 million Powerball® jackpot claimed in June by a group of Cedar Rapids co-workers, the largest lottery prize ever won in the state.

Annual lottery sales totaled $310.9 million, the third year in a row that the lottery has achieved record combined sales from its core products. Prizes to players totaled $182.4 million, also a record.

"The past year was an unusual one when it came to jackpots in our lotto games," Rich said. "From that strange Hot Lotto® situation to the world-record $656 Mega Millions® jackpot and that big Powerball jackpot claimed in Cedar Rapids, it was a year with a lot of lottery news. At the same time, lottery players entered our promotions in record numbers, claimed 12 prizes of at least $1 million in our games and thousands continued to enjoy interacting with us on social media - all ways we measure success today."

Rich stressed that just as importantly, the past year's events provided a huge opportunity for the lottery to highlight integrity, a cornerstone of its operations.

"A lot was on the line with that Hot Lotto jackpot that ultimately went unclaimed when a blind trust with ties to the country of Belize relinquished its claim to the money in January," Rich said. "People count on us to provide security and integrity in our games, and we're proud we clearly put those areas first through that process."

The unaudited figures show that lottery proceeds to state causes in FY 2012 were up 15.7 percent from the previous year's total of $68.1 million and well ahead of budget for the year. The lottery's combined sales from its core products of lotto, instant-scratch and pull-tab games increased 14.5 percent from the previous year's total, which had been a record at the time.

Another highlight of the lottery's FY 2012 results was the $2.7 million the lottery raised for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund to benefit our state's veterans and their families. The lottery has now met its goal of providing at least $2 million for the Trust Fund each year since it began raising proceeds for that cause in 2008.

"We're enormously proud to raise money for those who have given so much for our country, and our sales figures demonstrate that Iowans remain committed to helping that cause," Rich said.

The previous overall record for lottery returns to the state was set back in 2006, when the TouchPlay program was in operation and lottery proceeds combined with state withholding from lottery prizes had totaled more than $88.3 million. The lottery's results in FY 2012 squeaked by to top that at $88.7 million.

Mary Junge of Cedar Rapids, a CPA and practicing tax-and-estate planning attorney who chairs the Iowa Lottery Board, said she is pleased with the lottery's results in its latest financial year, but knows that fluctuations must be anticipated in the years to come.

"The members of the Lottery Board know from our oversight that lottery tickets today remain a secure, affordable, local entertainment option for those who wish to play," Junge said. "The experienced management staff at the lottery is to be commended for a remarkable year.

"But we also understand that the lottery's business model must continue to anticipate as many known impacts as possible - such as high fuel prices and cyclical fluctuations in prize claims - and the unknown stressors that will inevitably crop up," she said. "We look forward to the lottery continuing to build on its success."

Sales of instant-scratch tickets, the first product introduced by the lottery and always one of its top-selling items, rose more than 14 percent to a record $188.8 million for the year. The lottery's previous record for scratch sales had been set just a year earlier, at $165.3 million.

Rich also noted that local Iowa businesses received $20.1 million in commissions from the lottery for selling its products in FY 2012, a $2.8 million increase from the previous year.

"We're pleased to be able to recognize our retailers for the work they do in selling lottery tickets, and are glad to know that the lottery's positive impact extends beyond the returns it provides to state causes," Rich said.

Here is a year-to-year comparison of annual lottery sales by product:

  FY 2012 FY 2011  
Scratch tickets $188.8 million $165.3 million  
Powerball $57.9 million $47.1 million  
Mega Millions $22.3 million $16.1 million  
Pull-tab tickets $17.4 million $18.3 million  
Hot Lotto $10.5 million $11.6 million  
Pick 3 $6.7 million $6.6 million  
Iowa's $100,000 Cash Game $4.3 million $3.7 million  
Pick 4 $2.8 million $2.7 million  


Rich noted that the lottery's ongoing jackpot-related news isn't over yet - on Thursday, the lottery will hold a drawing to determine the 49 winners in its current "Mystery Millionaire" promotion that is giving away Iowa's share of the money from that unclaimed Hot Lotto jackpot here in Iowa and a Powerball jackpot that expired without being claimed in Georgia.

"We've got $2 million in prizes on the line in Mystery Millionaire, including a top prize of $1 million," Rich said. "We love to see more Iowa million-dollar winners.".

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