Iowa Vaccine Lottery? Gov. Reynolds Says No To Shot Jackpot

Posted By Russ Mitchell on June 11, 2021 - Last Updated on June 17, 2021

Iowans might be disappointed if they hoped the COVID-19 vaccine would be their shot at a jackpot.

For now, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state will be relying on campaigns and pop-up vaccine clinics at events, including:

  • Farmers markets
  • Iowa Cubs minor league baseball games
  • Indoor football games featuring the Iowa Barnstormers

Reynolds said she is “really happy with where we’re at” for Iowa’s vaccine rates. A little over 45% of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated. Her remarks came at a June 2 press conference in Lake View, IA. She told reporters who followed her to a state park bill-signing ceremony:

“I’m not going to do a lottery. We’re still doing everything we can. We are working with every venue we can.”

Iowa casinos still encourage unvaccinated guests to wear a mask. The CDC says 141 million people are up to date. About 64% of the nation’s adults have at least one vaccination.

In Iowa, about 1.4 million have completed their vaccine series, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Vaccine lottery … or not

Several companies are offering giveaways to boost vaccination numbers. Other states are introducing sweepstakes prize packages to get residents to a vaccine clinic. Lottery administrators helped with vaccine contests in many states, but it’s not automatic.

Mary Neubauer, of the Iowa Lottery, said details about how to encourage people to receive the vaccine are varying from state to state:

“Lawmakers in each jurisdiction make those decisions.”

State-by-state guide: The jackpot approach

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom drew the first $50,000 winners among Californians as part of a “Vax for the Win” program.
  • Delaware — The Delaware Lottery conducts twice-weekly drawings for $5,000 wins and other prizes. There’s a $302,000 grand prize.
  • Illinois — Vaccinations before July 1 will maximize the number of chances at a weekly lotto win. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state’s “All in for the Win” contest. It includes a $7 million prize pool and a $3 million scholarship pool for minors who get the shot(s).
  • Kentucky — Three Kentucky residents get a “Shot at a Million” for vaccinations. Underage vaccine recipients can win one of 15 college scholarships.
  • Maryland — There’s a grand prize of $400,000, plus daily $40,000 winners are selected through July 4.
  • New Mexico — State officials call their incentive sweepstakes “Vax 2 the Max.” The contest includes the nation’s biggest lotto win at $5 million. Weekly winners get $250,000. Vaccination sites have other prize incentives as well.
  • New York — The state hands out free scratch tickets at mass clinics. The scratchers usually cost $20 for a chance at a $5 million top prize.
  • Ohio — Five Ohio residents will win $1 million as part of a “Vax-A-Million” jackpot. Ohio’s lottery draws one winner each week throughout the campaign.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has a “Take Your Shot Oregon” campaign. The state will draw a $1 million grand prize winner on June 28.
  • Washington state — The state holds $250,000 drawings each week and there’s a $1 million drawing on July 13. Washington awards merchandise as well.
  • West Virginia — West Virginia vaccination incentives include a $1.588 million grand prize. The state’s residents can win additional cash prizes, college scholarships and pick-up trucks as well. It starts on June 20. The state also has a $100 gift card and savings bond incentives.

States with vaccine lottery prize packages

  • Hawaii — The state works with the private sector to promote prizes, including a trip to Las Vegas.
  • Maine — The state is offering prize packages, including gift cards, free fishing licenses and event tickets.
  • Minnesota — Incentives include Mall of America theme park passes, zoo passes and free state park access.
  • New Jersey — The state is offering free state park passes for the season, including Island Beach State Park.

States to watch

  • Kansas — State officials are talking with the Kansas Lottery Commission, but there’s nothing concrete yet.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said an incentive lottery is likely on its way.
  • Massachusetts — State Treasurer Deb Goldberg said a lottery is possible.
  • Michigan — State law prevents a cash lottery for vaccinated residents. The governor is exploring other incentives.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is about a week away from announcing an incentive program. US Rep. Dina Titus, of Nevada, wants a national cash incentive.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper just announced plans for a cash drawing. Details aren’t set, however.
  • Utah Gov. Spencer Cox wants to see how lotteries do in other states.
Photo by Elaine Thompson / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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