The Iowa Lottery will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its launch August 22nd and it has been 25 years that have for the most part been without a lot of controversy. Lottery C.E.O. Terry Rich says he can think of only two events that really had major impacts on the lottery.
“One was when the casinos were put into law, you saw a major decrease in revenue for our lottery, and so our per-capita play is actually a little less than other states that don’t have casinos,” Rich says. He says the other was the Touchplay machines that were started and then the legislature shut them down after some controversy. “I think those were probably the two marks that impacted lottery income the most traumatically,” Rich says.
The lottery made changes to require players to sign tickets after the state ombudsman raised concerns a few years ago about the security of lottery tickets. Rich says the lottery’s integrity has remained strong throughout it’s 25 years. Rich says one major scandal in any game would affect nearly five-million dollars in sales a week, but he says there have not been any major problems and people feel safe about the lottery.
Rich says the next 25 years of the lottery will see technology play a bigger part. He says the new generation of players pays their bills on-line and they will have to find a way to deliver the lottery to those who use the internet in a safe way. Rich says the lottery will face some big changes to meet the demands of the new generation.
Rich says the lottery business right now is “an off-line business in an on-line world” as they do most of their business through paper. He compares it to using the fax machine for years, but in today’s society, people are sending things on-line and he says the lottery will have to start to migrate to smart phones and the internet in a “controlled fashion” as they look to the future.
Part of the immediate on-line future for the Iowa Lottery will be a new computer system to replace the one that is currently being used.