The Iowa Lottery announced this week that sales for fiscal year 2007 reached 235 million dollars. Sales dropped 31 percent from 2006, primarily because of the loss of TouchPlay games – which state lawmakers banned. Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer says Hot Lotto sales doubled in FY ’07. She credits the publicity from a 19.9 million dollar jackpot in February, won by John Hall of Indianola.
"Whenever there’s a winner of that size in a particular state, that state usually sees the benefit in terms of higher ticket sales," Neubauer says. "Other people start buying tickets in that game because they think they can be lucky just like that original person was…and I think we definitely saw that phenomenon in Iowa this past year." Lottery sales this year generated 58.2 million dollars for the state.
Neubauer says a lot of Iowans believe all those revenues go to education, "in fact that’s not the case. Here in this state, lottery revenues go into the general fund. That’s the biggest pot of money in state government. It’s used to pay for a variety of programs, including public education, law enforcement, agricultural programs, all sorts of things."
State revenues from the lottery dropped 22.7 million dollars from 2006, which included TouchPlay revenue. The TouchPlay games were banned because of their resemblance to slot machines, which are only allowed in casinos.