The Idaho Lottery has returned its single largest annual dividend of $72.5m to the state of Idaho.
The Gem State lottery made the announcement during a public ceremony held at Iowa Elementary School in the Nampa School District with Governor Brad Little and the Idaho Lottery Commission in attendance.
Governor Little commented: “In 32 years, the Idaho Lottery has created over $4.6bn in economic opportunity for Idaho’s small businesses and corner stores from Bonners Ferry to Montpelier. With this year’s dividend, the Idaho Lottery has now returned more than $1bn to the People of Idaho. Every dollar created by the Lottery is a dollar that supports public education for school maintenance projects like here at Iowa Elementary.”
School districts use the lottery dividends for building maintenance, repairs, and operational projects.
Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director, added: “The Lottery has benefits that reach deep into Idaho communities, well beyond players who win prizes and retailers who sell our products. Iowa Elementary is just one project among thousands completed each year by local contractors and businesses in all of Idaho’s school districts with our dividend dollars.
“Today, we recognise the benefits of an exceptional year that was beset with extraordinary circumstances and challenges by returning more dividends to the citizens of Idaho than in any previous year.”
The $72.5m dividend is a 30.6% increase over last year’s dividend and is the single largest increase in the lottery’s 32-year history. Anderson noted that the Powerball game was responsible for about 7% of the lottery’s sales but represented 15% of the lottery dividend.
Governor Little and Idaho Lottery Commission Chairman Craig Corbett awarded the largest single check ever from the lottery to support public education in the Gem State to Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, who accepted a check for $45,312,500.
Of this amount, $27,187,500 went to the School Building Fund Account for maintenance and operations projects, while another $18,125,000 was taken by the Department of Education’s Bond Levy Equalization Fund to pay Idaho’s Public School bonds interest.
Ybarra stated: “For more than three decades, the Idaho Lottery has contributed much-needed funds for Idaho school districts across the state to repair and maintain school buildings. This year the annual dividend surpassed a record $45m, and I am thrilled that we can gather in person, once again, to celebrate that contribution.”
Keith Reynolds, Director of the Department of Administration who oversees the Public Works Division and the State’s Permanent Building Fund, received a check worth $27,187,500. The Permanent Building Fund helps maintain and capital projects for state-owned facilities and public college and university buildings.
Reynolds said: “This Idaho Lottery dividend check will be used to fund necessary projects throughout the State of Idaho. Our state agencies, state universities and colleges, and the buildings that serve the citizens of Idaho are supported by this key source of revenue, which provides needed maintenance and safety improvements, keeping facilities up to date and in good repair. We appreciate and thank the citizens of Idaho that play the lottery.”
This year’s dividend follows the single largest sales year for the lottery, exceeding $372m in revenue and surpassing the $300m mark for the first time.
Anderson added: “In many respects, over the last year, the Idaho Lottery was a convenient, inexpensive, and available entertainment choice available to Idahoans. The result was the most successful year of operations in our history, returning more to the People of Idaho than ever! Thanks, a billion, Idaho!”
The lottery also introduced a record amount of scratch games during the year (72), awarded a record $251.8m in prizes to players, and its 1,200 brick and mortar retail network earned a record $21.9m in commissions.