Iowa Lottery Sees Pump in Scratch Ticket Sales

Mary and Brian Lohse walk in to address the media at Iowa Lottery headquarters after claiming their winning Powerball ticket worth a gross of $202.1 million, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. Mary works at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Brian works at EMC Insurance. The couple lives in Bondurant. (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Rodney White)

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By Liz Blood

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A pre-Christmas blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of Iowa was a gift to the state lottery, which saw a spike in scratch ticket sales last week compared to the same period a year ago.

Iowa Lottery Chief Executive Terry Rich told the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/ROAEEA ) that he believes the increase is due to the winter weather and last-minute shoppers who want an inexpensive stocking-stuffer. The tickets cost about $1, $5, or $10.

"People couldn't get out, and they couldn't go very far. They were all thinking, 'I need to get my Christmas presents,' and most everybody can get to a convenience store," Rich said Monday.

The lottery delivered nearly $5.7 million worth of instant tickets to Iowa retailers last week, up from nearly $5 million for the same week last year.

"That means our sales were just phenomenal," Rich said. "Obviously, Wednesday morning will be just nuts for us because people will all come heading our way after they open their presents and check their stocking stuffers on Tuesday. So we will be writing a lot of checks on Wednesday."

The Iowa Lottery's proceeds for the current state fiscal year are running about 17 percent ahead of where they were one year ago. Rich said last year's sales netted $78 million in proceeds for state programs, an increase of about $10 million from the previous year.

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