With its final payment of $25,000 on January 30, the Wyoming Lottery Corporation has paid off its $2.6 million startup loan and announced that its first revenue transfer to the state coffers will be $1 million in April.
“We are officially debt free,” announced Jon Clontz, CEO of the Wyoming Lottery Corporation at a small celebration held at the lottery headquarters in downtown Cheyenne.
“Our $2.6 million loan allowed the lottery to start up the corporation. With ticket sales through Wyoming’s own game and other draw games, we were able to start developing a new state revenue stream for cities, towns, counties, and education as soon as that loan was paid off,” Clontz said. “Doing this all without state funding in less than a year and half of ticket sales is quite an accomplishment, especially taking into account the state’s small population and that we were only authorized to sell draw games.”
Clontz explained that the loan payoff and the April revenue transfer happened faster than originally expected due to increased ticket sales for the recent $1.6 billion PowerballⓇ jackpot and last year’s launch of the popular Cowboy DrawTM game, which offers better odds and more winners.
“Growing the lottery’s player base and adding new games are crucial to the lottery’s ability to transfer more revenue to the state,” Clontz said. “If we don’t see more growth, then the next revenue transfer will be much lower.”
In order to grow revenue, the lottery will continue to research new draw game options allowed under state statute. “We will present that research to our board with the hopes of adding, at least, one new draw game by the fall of 2016,” Clontz added.
In the meantime, the lottery will turn over its first revenue transfer of at least $1 million to the Wyoming Treasurer’s Office, which will be distributed to the 99 cities and towns and 23 counties, according to the formula in the state statute. Additional payments will then follow once every quarter, up to a maximum of $6 million per year. Any revenues exceeding that will then go to the Wyoming Permanent Land Fund’s Common School Account.
Clontz emphasized additional milestones reached by the lottery. “Beyond being debt free and transferring revenue to the state, we have been able to keep Wyoming players’ dollars in Wyoming, spent at Wyoming retailers.”
So far over one million WyoLottoTM players have won $11 million. The new game, Cowboy Draw, increased player excitement with better odds, more winners, and six jackpots won since its launch in March 2015.
The 441 Wyoming retailers selling tickets are also seeing a boost with an average of $300 to $1,000 in ticket sales a day. And when jackpots are high, like the recent $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot, one Wyoming retailer sold $29,000 worth of tickets in a day.
Ticket sales translate into commission for the retailers, who receive a six percent commission on ticket sales and a one percent commission on validated winning tickets in store. So far, the lottery has paid $2.38 million in commissions to retailers, who have sold a total of $39.3 million of lottery tickets.
Clontz emphasized that keeping lottery players in Wyoming keeps revenue here. “Research shows that players usually purchase other products when they go in to buy lottery tickets in store.”
The top five selling counties were Uinta County at $8.2 million in ticket sales, Natrona County at $5.2 million, Laramie County at $5.1 million, Sweetwater County at $3.7 million, and Campbell County at $3.1 million. Please see the chart below for a breakdown of ticket sales by county.
Clontz added, “The Wyoming Lottery is a Wyoming brand and is very proud to be a part of Wyoming’s unique culture. We are working hard to continue to contribute to the state’s economy.”