Despite Pandemic, Iowa Lottery Surpasses Revenue Projections For Fiscal 2020

Written By Drew Ellis on July 6, 2020

It’s been an eventful 2020, thus far.

However, the IA Lottery revenue numbers didn’t feel the hit that many other businesses did.

Even with the unpredictable COVID-19 outbreak, the numbers for the state lottery exceeded projections for the 2020 fiscal year.

Iowa Lottery surpasses expectations

The fiscal year ended on June 30, and the state of Iowa reported a sales increase of $15.4 million, with proceeds growth of $6.3 million.

According to the Quad-City Times, lottery prizes for the fiscal year were $19.4 million ahead of the budget.

Iowa Lottery CEO Matt Strawn reported the numbers a week before the fiscal year ended. Gross sales for the year were budgeted for $346.5 million. The numbers, heading into the final month, stood at $335 million.

Total proceeds were budgeted for $72 million for the year but stood at $73 million entering June.

Prizes also exceeded budget plans early.

Budgeted for $209.9 million for the year, the numbers were at $213 million at the end of May.

COVID-19 didn’t derail fast start for lottery sales

The Iowa Lottery paced itself for a profitable fiscal year through the first three quarters.

Reports showed lottery sales 1.8% ahead of the record-breaking year the state had for the 2019 fiscal year.

However, the early impacts of the pandemic slowed sales. In March, Iowa was nearly $2 million short of sales expectations of $30.9 million.

In the following three months, sales stabilized. Iowa residents returned to more frequent lottery play as life in the COVID-19 world became normalized.

Iowa coming off previous record in 2019 fiscal year

The 2019 fiscal year was one to remember for the state of Iowa.

The state set record sales of $390.9 million for the fiscal year while generating a record $92.8 million in proceeds for the state. Iowa also had a record $241.9 million in prizes, while sales commissions to lottery retailers closed out at a record $25.4 million.

IA Lottery Chair Mary Junge, of Cedar Rapids, told the Quad-City Times:

“Last year was an extraordinary year. But I think we really should be happy with the (2020) results.”

Heading into the 2021 fiscal year, the board of lottery game sales elected new leadership.

Sherrae Hanson of Ankeny, a tax manager, and John Quinn of Urbandale, the Waukee police chief, will serve as chair and vice-chair.

Lottery putting billions back into Iowa

Iowa amassed a lot of money through the lottery system over the years and put it back into the state.

According to the Iowa Lottery website, since the fiscal years of 1986-2019, the lottery has raised more than $2 billion for state programs.

Seeing the largest piece of that pie is the general fund, which has received over $1.7 billion during the 33-year span. Included in the general fund are programs that involve education, natural resources, public safety and health and family services.

Over $170 million has gone to the Iowa Plan, a long-term economic development program. The Iowa Veterans Trust Fund has received nearly $30 million, while the CLEAN Fund has received nearly $36 million. The CLEAN Fund stands for Committing the Lottery to Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Since the lottery began in 1985, players have won more than $4.6 billion in prize money.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life and has been writing professionally 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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