The Idaho Lottery celebrated 32 years of entertainment and games by returning the single largest annual dividend to the People of Idaho, $72.5 million. The Idaho Lottery’s announcement came during a public ceremony held at Iowa Elementary School in the Nampa School District with Idaho Governor Brad Little and the Idaho Lottery Commission.
“In 32 years, the Idaho Lottery has created over $4.6 billion in economic opportunity for Idaho’s small businesses and corner stores from Bonner’s Ferry to Montpelier. With this year’s dividend, the Idaho Lottery has now returned more than $1 billion to the People of Idaho,” said Governor Brad Little. “Every dollar created by the Lottery is a dollar that supports public education for school maintenance projects like here at Iowa Elementary.”
Idaho Lottery dividends are used by school districts for building maintenance, repairs, and operational projects. Last summer, the Nampa School District and Iowa Elementary School utilized their Idaho Lottery dividends to replace their aging HVAC systems. ACCO Engineered Systems, a Boise employee-owned company with branches throughout the west coast, installed 42 Trane air conditioning units, two large condensing units, plus two big air handlers for the gym and cafeteria at Iowa. The project utilized about five of ACCO’s employees for the two-and-a-half-month-long project.
“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,” said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. “Today, we recognize 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.”
This year’s $72.5 million dividend represents a 30.6% increase over last year’s dividend: the single largest increase in any of the Lottery’s 32-year history. Anderson pointed out during his remarks that a single game, Powerball, 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 Idaho Lottery to support public education in the Gem State. Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra accepted a check for $45,312,500. Of this amount, $27,187,500 goes to the School Building Fund Account for maintenance and operations projects and another $18,125,000 goes to the Department of Education’s Bond Levy Equalization Fund to pay the interest on Idaho’s Public School bonds.
“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,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said. “This year the annual dividend surpassed a record $45 million, 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 from Governor Little and Commissioner Corbett. Permanent Building Fund dollars support maintenance and capital projects for State-owned facilities and Idaho’s public college and university buildings.
“This Idaho Lottery dividend check will be used to fund necessary projects throughout the State of Idaho,” said Keith Reynolds, Director of the Idaho Department of Administration. “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 comes after the single largest sales year for the Idaho Lottery, exceeding $372 million in revenue and surpassing the $300 million mark for the first time.
“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!” added Anderson. “Thanks, a billion, Idaho!”
In addition to the dividend and sales records, the Idaho Lottery also set a new record for the number of Scratch Games introduced in a single year at 72, awarded a record amount in prizes to players worth $251.8 million, and the Lottery’s network of 1,200 brick and mortar retail locations earned a record $21.9 million in commissions.