Sep 11, 2015

Locals bought a lot of WyoLotto tickets, didn't hit big jackpots in games' first year

Park County retailers sold nearly $600,000 worth of tickets during the Wyoming Lottery’s first year.

They were part of what Wyoming Lottery Corporation CEO Jon Clontz described as a “solid” inaugural year, from August 2014 to August 2015.

Across the state, retailers sold roughly $21.1 million of tickets and they resulted in around $5.2 million worth of winnings for the players who bought them, according to WyoLotto data.

At first, WyoLotto only offered tickets for the nationwide Powerball and Mega Millions games. However, officials launched a Wyoming-only game, Cowboy Draw, in March to give players better odds of winning a jackpot. Since then, four Wyoming players have hit jackpots ranging from $277,988 to $628,630.

Most of the 577,000-some winning tickets sold in Wyoming in the lottery’s first year brought much smaller payouts.

A list of WyoLotto winners indicates that the biggest payout in Park County was a $2,000 ticket sold in Powell in July; three other people won $500 from tickets purchased in Cody.

A total of $598,107 worth of tickets were sold in Park County over the 12 months. That breaks down to an average of about $25 worth of tickets per adult resident (though presumably some were bought by people passing through the area).

The Wyoming Lottery's first year of ticket sales, broken down by county. Data from WyoLotto

Uinta County had the most sales ($3.36 million) among the state's counties, apparently bolstered by lottery-deprived Utah residents who ventured across the border.

There are more than 440 lottery retailers in Wyoming and they earned around $1 million in commissions in the lottery’s first year, WyoLotto officials said.

The Wyoming Legislature approved the creation of the lottery in 2013 — requiring that profits go to counties, municipalities and the state school system — but didn’t give it any funding; the Wyoming Lottery Corporation took out a loan to get started.

Lottery CEO Clontz said in an August news release that ticket sales have been steady, helping pay off the lottery's loan, and that it should start paying money to the state by sometime next year.

“I’m very proud of what the staff, board, and our partners have accomplished so far without state funding and look forward to an even stronger second year,” Clontz said in the release.

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