Sales were up, but overall profits were down for the Iowa Lottery in the fiscal year that ended June 30th. Iowa Lottery vice president Mary Neubauer says the sales set a record.
Bauer says preliminary figures show that lottery sales totaled 249.2 million dollars — the highest combined sales total for lotto, instant-scratch and pull-tab games — and a 6% increase from the last fiscal year. Neubauer says however the type of tickets sold led to a 1.2% percent drop in profits.
Neubauer says instant scratch games were the leader in total tickets and dollar amount of tickets sold, and those tickets have a lower profit percentage than other types of tickets, so profits dropped to 57.2 million dollars.
Neubauer says smaller jackpots kept lotto ticket sales down. She says in the last fiscal year the Hot Lotto had the biggest prize in its history, almost 20 million dollars. Neubauer says they didn’t get that type of big jackpot this year to drive more sales. Neubauer says the economy had started to show an impact on sales after a strong start to the fiscal year.
"By early September, lottery sales were running about 18-percent ahead of the previous year, and then as the year went on and gas prices started to climb, and food prices started to climb, and then all of the horrible storms and flooding that hit Iowa this spring, we just saw lottery sales gradually slope down," Neubauer says.
The flooding swamped many cities and the retail outlets that sell lottery products and their ticket machines. The impact of that damage is carrying over into the new fiscal year. Neubauer says they’re working with the state auditor’s office and retailers to account for those loses. Neubauer sales will be impacted going forward as some stores have been out of service for some time, others have said they won’t re-open, and some still have a long time before they re-open.
Neubauer says they also expect to see a slowdown in sales as Iowans continue recovering from the tornadoes and floods. Neubauer says people won’t be out in their normal routine buying tickets as they continue trying to recover from the storms and flooding. "So we anticipate some tough times in the next few months, and will do our best along with rest of the state to get through them," Neubauer says.
Iowa Lottery profits are put into the state general fund and are used to pay for a variety of programs.