The Iowa Lottery is having a good year. Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says both sales and profits have improved. Sales of lottery games have been rising for three years in a row, but in the past year profits have gone up 16-percent and total lottery sales were up eleven percent. In the past fiscal year that just ended June 30, the lottery brought in more than 55-Million dollars. Many people aren’t aware of a big change in the operation of the state lottery that occurred recently, its management by an independent commission. This fiscal year was the first for the Iowa Lottery Authority, the self-governing body created by lawmakers in the 2003 session to let the lottery operate with more freedom in its day-to-day planning and business decisions, which she says led to its success this year. Having a lottery authority freed the game from bureaucracy, Neubauer says, and it’s showing, in the bottom line. That bottom line is what keeps operators of the lottery reviewing how much is spent on each scratch-ticket design, adding new ones and phasing out ones that seem to have lost interest among buyers so that revenues remain as high as possible. Neubauer says no tax dollars are spent on the lottery — it must support itself with money spent on games. While you may think of PowerBall, the lottery’s biggest sales category is the instant scratch ticket, which brought in 95-point-2 Million dollars worth this year — but PowerBall sales were also up 14-percent for a total of 65-point-9-Million dollars in sales in fiscal year 2004.
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