Iowa Lottery sales have remained strong and Lottery C.E.O. Terry Rich says scratch tickets are a big reason for that. He says scratch ticket sales were “phenomenal.” Rich says the scratch tickets remain popular because they are easily available and a low-cost item.
Scratch tickets generated just over $13-million in July, the first month of the new fiscal year, which was over one million dollars more than the same month last year. The lottery is projecting a nine-percent increase in overall sales for this fiscal year. The Lottery Board approved the next year’s budget at its meeting today, and Rich says they are projecting a smaller increase.
Rich says they are projecting a three-percent increase in the 2013 fiscal year as there are some new products coming out. He says the proposals include a two-dollar Powerball ticket, and there’s been discussion on a national game that could be a scratch or lotto ticket.
Rich also presented the Lottery Board with a five-year plan that was requested by the governor. Part of the plan includes looking for new outlets to sell tickets. Rich says they are looking to continue diversifying the outlets where they sell tickets, and that includes looking at “Big Box” stores such as WalMart or the Dollar Store.
He says they have a lot of retailers they have never reached out to to sell lottery tickets. Seventy-five-percent of lottery sales currently come from convenience stores and gas stations. Rich says on-line lottery sales are something he believes could be in the future as they look to find new games and options.
Rich says they have a lot of different options to look at. He says the hardest part for him is finding the balance between making a lot more money against the social implications that they don’t overpromote and overpromise so people are spending money that isn’t discretionary on the lottery.
Rich says they anticipate that phone and internet gambling will become available in many states and they want to be able to be ready if that is an option for Iowa.