The Iowa Lottery’s top management is shooting to make $70 million for the state treasury every year. “Powerball” and “Hot Lotto” ticket sales grab the headlines, but sales of scratch tickets are the steady, consistent money-maker for the Iowa Lottery.
Terry Rich, the organization’s CEO, said that’s why the Iowa Lottery “refreshes” its scratch ticket line-up more than 40 times a year.
“These are all basic, block-and-tackle, year-in-year-out business practices we do to make that $70 million base,” Rich told the governor and his staff this week during a budget hearing at the statehouse.
Sales for the Powerball, Hot Lotto and Mega Millions drawings are driven by how high the jackpots climb.
“We have highs and we have lows,” Rich said. “Last January was huge, the largest jackpot ever and that really drove money to the botton line. Now, we’ve had some good runs. We’re $12 million ahead year-to-date on sales already, but that was a $17 million dollar in January.”
Powerball ticket sales in a normal January are about $10 million.
Rich said focusing on more than just those jackpot drawings, though, is important. He compared it to farmers who plant both corn and beans.
“One year you’ll have a good run with the corn — Powerball or Lotto — and one year you’ll have a good year with the scratch ticket and other operations that we have, so we work on all those,” Rich said. “And diversity of products is very important.”
During the last state fiscal year, the Iowa Lottery sold nearly $234 million worth of instant scratch tickets. That was more than twice as much as total sales for the Powerball, Hot Lotto and Mega Millions jackpots. Iowa Lottery retailers sold about $100 million worth of tickets for those drawings.
According to the Iowa Lottery’s website, the first ticket sold by the lottery back in 1985 was for a “Scratch, Match and Win” game. The Lottery is currently offering 49 different “scratch” ticket games for sale in Iowa.