Iowa Lottery officials are calling fiscal 2012 a jackpot year.
Preliminary figures released Tuesday showed the state’s lottery tallied $310.9 million in sales, which translated into a record $78.8 million in proceeds to state causes from core gaming products and $9.9 million in state withholding from prizes won in Iowa. Overall, prizes paid to players in the fiscal year that ended June 30 totaled $182.4 million, which also represented a record.
The last 12 months produced a $241 million Powerball jackpot claimed in June by a group of Cedar Rapids co-workers that was the largest lottery prize ever won in Iowa. The lottery also generated headlines due to the mysterious circumstances surrounding a winning $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot that went unpaid after a New York lawyer refused to explain how he ended up with the winning ticket.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa Attorney General's Office continue to look into whether any crimes were committed in the attempt by New York attorney Crawford Shaw to claim the prize on behalf of a blind trust established by a corporation based in Belize. Ultimately, the claim was withdrawn and the unclaimed prize money is now part of a $2 million lottery promotion that will include a $1 million prize to be awarded at the Iowa State Fair.
“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,” said Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich in a statement issued Tuesday.
“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,” he added. “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 said he believed the challenging situations that arose the past year and the way they were handled by lottery officials showed the premium they place on maintaining the security and integrity of the lottery’s products and process.
Unaudited figures for fiscal 2012 indicate that lottery proceeds to the state’s treasury were up 15.7 percent from the previous year’s total of $68.1 million, he said. The previous overall record for lottery returns to the state was $88.3 million in fiscal 2006 when the lottery’s TouchPlay program was in operation.
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Combined sales from lotto, instant-scratch and pull-tab games in fiscal 2012 increased 14.5 percent from the previous year’s total, which had been a record at the time, he added.
Iowa Lottery Board Mary Junge of Cedar Rapids commended the lottery’s management staff for what she called a “remarkable” year given the economic challenges facing the state and the nation. Fiscal 2012 saw local Iowa businesses receive $20.1 million in commissions from the lottery for selling its products, a $2.8 million increase from the previous year, officials said.
Since the lottery’s inception in 1985, players have won more than $2.9 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised nearly $1.4 billion for the state.
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
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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
Source: Iowa Lottery