CLIVE — Iowa Lottery CEO Matt Strawn predicted it would be hard to match the last two fiscal years — which were the most profitable in the organization’s history — but he says the first two months of this fiscal year that started in July have far exceeded expectations.
“This strong start was propelled by a billion-dollar-plus Mega Millions grand prize jackpot that occurred in late July,” Strawn says. Gross sales totaled nearly $78 million in the two months and are around 32% ahead of budget projections. “The Iowa Lottery FY 2023 proceeds through August 2022 total $16,498,851. This is 35% ahead of budgeted proceeds and 8% percent ahead of fiscal year 2022’s pace,” according to Strawn.
Large jackpots in games are unpredictable, and Strawn says they are still remaining cautious about how the full year will go. “That Mega Millions jackpot run at the very start of the fiscal year was quite a boost. I don’t suspect we will be able to maintain the pace that we saw in July from a sales perspective,” he says.
Strawn says they have been focusing on ways to improve revenue and that has included the lotto game category and more drawings. “Adding a third day for Powerball. Adding daily draws for Lucky for Life. We’re continuing to see revenue lifts even a year later from those game changes. More recently in July, we added a third draw to lateral America. So you’ll see in the financials, that Lotto America is performing dramatically ahead of where it was last year,” Strawn says. He says along with the additional draw for Lotto America, the jackpot has exceeded $20 million for the first time in several years.
Lottery Chief Revenue Officer John Ross says they also have increased the number of stores selling Lottery products by adding 57 Walmart stores. Ross says the economy still remains a concern for the fiscal year ahead. “The headwinds are real — and if you particularly look at the increase in the price of gasoline from on average, for the state of Iowa, the relationships are basically inversely related,” Ross says. “So particularly along the lines of scratch tickets, so if gas prices have gone up, sales of scratch tickets went down almost at the same proportion.”
The two made their comments at this week’s Iowa Lottery Board meeting.