The Iowa Lottery Board has given final approval to the rules for a new, $1 million cash raffle that’ll start April 13th. The lottery has run raffles before, but with prizes like vehicles and vacations. "After we talked with our players, we discovered our players want the money instead of the prizes," Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Tina Potthoff says.
Only 120,000 tickets will be sold for the raffle, at $20 each. "We’ve been watching the other lotteries across the United States very closely to see how their raffles have done and what we’ve discovered is that when they offer a raffle at about a $20 price point, it seems to do very well. People are excited that there (are) only a limited number (of tickets) available, and there’s also a wide range of prizes that can be won," Potthoff says. "With ours, there’s a chance to win up to a million dollars."
State-run lotteries in at least 23 other states have run cash raffles. The odds of winning this million-dollar raffle are much higher than Powerball, the lottery’s main game. "There will be 120,000 tickets available…and about one in every 1,071 people will win a prize," Potthoff says. Sales will be cut off June 14th or when tickets run out and Potthoff says based on the popularity of a cash raffle in other states, it’s likely the tickets will sell out. Tickets for a recent cash raffle in Michigan sold out in 48 hours.
Potthoff says the rarity of the raffle is the key to its popularity. "We’ve discovered with other lotteries that this is something you do on a limited basis so it doesn’t lose its uniqueness or its flair with the public," she says.
Lottery officials say the state will "break even" when two-thirds of the tickets for the game are sold.