The Iowa Lottery’s budget numbers are now complete for January and they show the dramatic impact the world-record Powerball jackpot had on the bottom line.
The $1.6 billion jackpot drawing on January 13th led to winning tickets in California, Florida and Tennessee. Thousands of Iowans tried to get in on the jackpot, and Iowa Lottery spokesperson, Mary Neubauer, says that led to many records for the organization.
“Sales records, proceeds to state causes, prizes to players — just about every record I could think of was broken in January,” Neubauer says. The total monthly sales for the Iowa Lottery hit $54.1 million, more than $12 million above the previous record set in February 2006. Monthly lottery proceeds to state were $17.3 dollars — topping the previous monthly record of $11.6 million.
The record jackpot started in early November of 2015 and continued to grow to its record amount before the numbers were finally selected in January. “During that two-month time period the Lottery sold more than $34 million in Powerball tickets. Now that compares to a total of $52.2 million for the whole year in Powerball sales in fiscal year 2015,” Neubauer says. “Clearly these numbers mean that the Lottery is very well positioned for this year. We are ahead of both our budget projections for the year, as well as our five-year rolling average that we watch to see how we are doing overall.”
The Iowa Lottery saw it’s biggest day for sales of Powerball on the day of the drawing — with $6.3 million worth of the two-dollar tickets sold. Neubauer says they will have to watch and see if there is any long-term impact from more people playing during the record run.
“What we saw during January is that not only did regular players play, but occasional players and first time players jumped in. Because it just became that thing that everybody was talking about,” Neubauer says. “We hope to see that there will be some some carryover from that. That maybe folks who hadn’t played before decide to play the Powerball once in a while or play the lottery once in a while, and just get in on the fun.”
The record jackpot was the ultimate stress test for the Iowa Lottery’s ticket system, and Neubauer says it passed the test. “Our terminals held up, our communications system help up as far as being able to generate those plays. We did run out of paper in some places around the state. We were able to get some emergency supplies out there, and that tells us that as we move ahead that that’s one thing that we need to look for,” according to Neubauer.
A 23-year-old man from Onawa was the Iowan who came the closest to getting a piece of the record jackpot. Bryon Stewart matched the first five numbers, but missed the Powerball number to take home a $2 million prize.