IOWA WINS: Benefiting from Lottery Proceeds

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Even when there isn’t an Iowa winner for Powerball, the state is still a winner.

As of three o'clock Wednesday afternoon, Iowans had bought five million dollars' worth of Powerball tickets. Half of the proceeds go back into the lottery's cash prizes, and the rest gets divided between the retailers that sell the tickets, the paper for the tickets themselves, and the company that provides the terminals, other lottery expenses, and the state.

“It’s something for people to think about, that yes they are having fun and they are buying tickets and they are dreaming about what they would do with the money, but they are helping their communities and helping their state in the process,” said Mary Neubauer with Iowa Lottery, “The money that goes to the state is about 35-cents on every dollar that`s spent on a Powerball ticket."

As of Wednesday afternoon, the state is already getting 1.7 million dollars just on sales from the Powerball Jackpot drawn Wednesday night, and that was before the after work rush, which Neubauer said is always a busy time for ticket sales.

When the Iowa Lottery began in 1985, the money went to help small businesses. That was later changed to fund natural resource projects in the state. Now it goes right into the general fund, which is the biggest pool of money in state government. It pays for a wide variety of things like education to law enforcement to agriculture

The Iowa Treasurer said one place in particular it helps, is it’s been a stream that backs up the security for Vision Iowa Bonds. Vision Iowa has helped fund projects like an expansion to the greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens, the Blank Park Zoo expansion, and the Sculpture Garden in Des Moines.

Lottery and state officials said that any year, that hat money is a big deal- last year there were 70 million dollars in proceeds to the state- but this year there is even more money, a record breaking amount in fact.

Michael Fitzgerald said for Iowans that means, “it`s going to keep your taxes down. We got this program that brings money in so you can have fun spending your money, keeps your taxes down, and fund things that are important to the state of Iowa.”

If the winning ticket is sold in Iowa, the state will get to claim nine percent of the winnings as income tax, so with a $550 million jackpot that means almost $50 million more that would come in. The state treasurer says the money from last year's Iowa jackpot winner was a great help to the state.