(Radio Iowa) The Iowa Lottery set a record for sales in the fiscal year that ended June 30th, with sales of 481-point-five million dollars. Iowa Lottery CEO Mat Strawn started the fiscal year with concerns as the flagship scratch ticket sales had dropped.
“Boy, not only did we see scratch ticket sales bounce back over the last fiscal year, but we saw all product categories actually see a year-over-year sales increase,” he says. Strawn says some big lotto ticket jackpots were one factor in pushing them to a record.
“I think there’s a combination of factors. One, there were changes made to those national lotto games like Powerball a number of years ago to create faster, more rapidly growing jackpots,” Strawn says. “So I think that helps generate accelerated sales in games like Powerball, which we certainly saw this last fiscal year. But I think from a strategic standpoint in Iowa, more I was centric and experiential promotions.” He says the promotions at the Iowa Speedway Kinnick and Jack Trice stadiums and the Knoxville Nationals help boost interest. Strawn says the economy and high gas prices had impacted scratch ticket sales in the previous fiscal year. And they also took an overall look at them to try and improve their sales.
“We did some analysis, and actually made some data-driven decisions in slightly changing the scratch ticket portfolio — understanding that not all scratch ticket players are alike,” he says “For example, Iowa is among the states where crossword, or bingo those extended play, scratch games sell very well. So we made sure that we were, we’re leaning hard into meeting players where they want to be with that game.” Strawn says players like variety in game styles and play, and that’s why you see some two dozen scratch ticket offerings, where it used to be only six or eight different types of scratch tickets available. Strawn says more ticket vending machines in high-traffic stores also helped make it easier for customers.
“What you’ve seen with the increase in self-service lottery machines at retail is a response to not just what we’re hearing from players who want that convenience, but the retailers themselves. I think anybody that spends two minutes talking to any business in the state will hear about challenges they have related to the workforce. So we’re trying to help our retailers out with that as well,” Strawn says. The preliminary figures released show that the Iowa Lottery generated a record 108-point-two million dollars in proceeds to the state for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. Prizes paid to players were a record 305-point-three million dollars.