The Idaho Lottery kicked-off their 25th Anniversary celebration this afternoon by returning the largest dividend in their history. Accepting the dividend on behalf of the people of Idaho, Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter received a check worth $49 million during a ceremony at the State Capitol. This year's eleventh consecutive record dividend came on the strength of the seventh consecutive year of responsibly increased sales.
Led by Chairman Mel Fisher, the Idaho Lottery Commission and Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson presented Governor Otter with a check representing the 25-year dividend provided to Idaho public schools and the State's permanent public buildings for $649.5 million.
"Tomorrow's classrooms will enjoy today's benefits due to the continued achievements of the Idaho Lottery," said Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter. "For two and a half decades, the Lottery has been committed to the highest levels of fairness and integrity, leading them to become the best Lottery in the nation. Building on 25 years of success, join me in celebrating your Idaho Lottery's silver anniversary."
"With close to two-thirds of a billion dollars returned for our good causes, when players play the Lottery in Idaho, someone, somewhere, is always benefitting," said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. "Every play pays. Every day we contribute $134,247 to a greater common good that exceeds the sum of our dollars and dividends: the future of Idaho's education and prosperity among her citizens."
The Idaho Lottery sold its very first ticket on the steps of the Idaho Capitol in July 1989. Since that time, the Idaho Lottery has totaled $2.7 billion in sales. The statewide network of 1,200 brick and mortar retail locations has earned $160 million in commissions.
For the twelfth time in thirteen years, and the seventh consecutive year, the Idaho Lottery's annual sales exceeded the previous year. This year's sales were $208.9 million, marking the first year in Idaho Lottery history that sales eclipsed the $200 million mark.
During the ceremony Governor Otter presented Luci Willits, Chief of Staff for the Idaho State Department of Education with a $30.625 million dividend check. Of that amount, $18.375 million is earmarked for the Department of Education's Building Fund Account and the remaining $12.25 million is for the Bond Levy Equalization Fund. Since inception, the Idaho Lottery has contributed $343.9 million to these accounts in support of Public Education in Idaho.
"Over the past 25 years, the Lottery has proven its resourcefulness and partnership by contributing well over $300 million for Idaho's classrooms. On behalf of the State Department of Education, I want to thank Idahoans across the state for supporting Idaho students and public education," Willits said.
Governor Otter also presented Gena Russell, Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council Chair, with a dividend check for $18.375 million. This is the largest amount ever received by the State's Permanent Building Fund. Since 1989, the Idaho Lottery has returned $305.6 million back to the permanent buildings of Idaho.
"The Idaho Lottery has been a meaningful contributor in the maintenance and enhancement of Idaho's public buildings for twenty-five years," said Russell. "Lottery revenue each year enables us to preserve our historical facilities, provide safe work environments for the Gem State's employees, and improve the quality of Idaho's college campuses."
The Idaho Lottery celebrated its 25th Anniversary by setting five new records in Fiscal Year 2009. In addition to the record dividend and sales figures, the Lottery also set records in Scratch ticket sales ($122.8 million), total prizes paid to the players ($136.8 million), and commissions earned by Idaho Lottery retailers ($12.14 million).
The Idaho Lottery's 25th Anniversary celebration will continue on the Lottery's actual anniversary date, July 19th, with a FREE player appreciation party prior to the final night of the Snake River Stampede Rodeo in Nampa. Later that evening during the rodeo the national LIVE Powerball draw will take place and will be broadcast from the Idaho Center.