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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Virginia Lottery recorded its biggest year yet, with sales reaching over $2.29 billion and profits totaling nearly $650 million in the last fiscal year, which ended on June 30. The record profits represent a seven percent increase over last year and are equivalent to about $1.78 million per day for education in the Commonwealth generated by the Lottery. These numbers, which are unaudited figures, were provided at the Lottery Board’s quarterly meeting held today in Richmond. The final, audited results will be released in August. The previous record, set in Fiscal Year 2018, was $606 million.
“Students and teachers in every part of our Commonwealth continue to benefit from the Virginia Lottery’s record-high proceeds, and with an increase in the Lottery per Pupil Allocation, our school districts have more flexibility to use Lottery profits to meet their diverse needs,” said Governor Northam. “With this funding we are not only supporting a variety of important programs in our public schools, we are also making critical investments in our young Virginians and expanding opportunities for them to succeed.”
Approximately 10 percent of Virginia’s education budget comes from the Lottery. Virginia’s Constitution requires that all Virginia Lottery profits be deposited in the Lottery Proceeds Fund, from which the General Assembly makes appropriations in support of K-12 public education programs. Programs supported include textbooks, school breakfast, and career and technical education, to name a few.
“The Lottery is a great partner in education across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “In addition to the Lottery Proceeds Fund, the Virginia Lottery supports a variety of events, professional development conferences, and campaigns that directly benefit our students, teachers, and administrators.”
Virginia businesses that sell Lottery tickets—some 5,300 retailers—earned nearly $130 million in commissions and incentives in Fiscal Year 2019. Players also benefitted, as roughly 60 cents of each dollar spent on lottery tickets in Virginia goes right back to customers in the form of prizes. Lottery players won more than $1.4 billion in prizes, including 45 tickets that each won at least $1 million.
A new way of playing the Lottery was unveiled during the year with MobilePlay, which utilizes Bluetooth technology to allow people to play securely on the Lottery’s mobile app using their smartphone or personal device while located on the premises of a licensed retailer.
“As the competitive environment for gaming continues to evolve in Virginia, the Lottery remains a successful, well-run business and a proven, trusted brand,” said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall. “We’re working to develop and deliver new types of games in new ways using new technology to meet customers where they are today. We provide good fun for a great purpose, and that is to generate additional funds for K-12 education in the Commonwealth.”
One of the most exciting and high-profile events of Fiscal Year 2019 was the Mega Millions drawing on October 23, which offered a $1.537 billion jackpot. In the week leading up to the drawing, Mega Millions generated more than $27 million in profit for K-12 education. That week also saw four Mega Millions tickets bought in Virginia win $1 million each.
Virginia’s two biggest wins of the year were both $10 million. Charles Martin of Amelia Courthouse won it when he scratched an Extreme Millions ticket that he bought in Blackstone in September. In July, Juanita Simpson and Sharon Calhoun, both of Virginia Beach, split the $10 million top prize in the 100X the Money Scratcher game. Their winning ticket was bought in Newport News.
Along with record results in sales, profits for education and retailer commissions, the Lottery also posted one very low number: its operating expenses. Operating expenses are consistently kept around five percent of total sales, far below the limit set by Virginia law. The Lottery operates entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, not tax dollars.
“The Lottery uses responsible business principles to efficiently deliver these profits for its stakeholders—the people of Virginia and Virginia’s K-12 public schools,” said Virginia Lottery Board Chairman Ferhan Hamid. “Whether or not you choose to purchase lottery products, your local public schools still share in the benefits of this well-run business.”
For a complete list of Lottery funds distributed to Virginia school districts through FY18, visit the Virginia Lottery’s Giving Back page. For more information on the Lottery, visit our website, download our app, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and check us out on YouTube. The Virginia Lottery has been recognized nationally for its continuing efforts to raise awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction. Remember to please play responsibly.
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