Stuck at home during a pandemic? Can't go to theaters, restaurants, or stores? How ever will you entertain yourself during quarantine? It turns out that one of the answers in 2020 was playing the Iowa Lottery. Lottery officials said that they are on track to smash their annual sales records.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that sales of Iowa Lottery instant scratch and Lotto products have already exceeded $417 million in sales with one month left to go in the fiscal year. Through the month of May, lottery sales were at $417.2 million, compared to $335 million for the same 11 month period one year ago. That's a nearly 25% one year increase. The lottery's previous record setting year was 2019, when sales totals hit $390 million. That number will also, fall by the wayside.

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I got the chance to talk with Iowa Lottery CEO Matt Strawn at a remote last week. He described last year as putting the "Woo Hoo!" back in the Iowa Lottery. He was right! Strawn told the Gazette that lottery sales will top the $400 million mark for the first time in 36 years. Lottery proceeds to the state of Iowa's general fund will top $100 million, and the winning paid out to the players topped $265 million.

Strawn told the Gazette, and expressed to me last week, that the pandemic provide a unique experience and helped drive lottery sales to never seen before heights. He noted that Iowa had to spend more time at home and turned to safe, local entertainment options. It doesn't get much safer than a scratch ticket!

 

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