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Archive for Tuesday, July 11, 2006

State among big winners as lottery sales set record

July 11, 2006

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A record year for Kansas Lottery sales means more than $67 million in revenue for state economic development and building projects in the coming year.

Officials released the sales figures Monday, showing a 14.3 percent increase in fiscal year 2006 ending June 30. Sales were $236.3 million, up from $206.7 million a year ago. Increases were seen in instant games and Powerball tickets, thanks to two record jackpots.

"Record jackpots during the year always generates the hype," said Ed Van Petten, lottery executive director.

State law requires that lottery revenues be spent on economic development programs, prison construction and maintenance, juvenile detention and problem gambling programs.

Changes were made in recent years in the Powerball game, increasing the size of the jackpots to a $15 million minimum for each drawing. In addition, Kansas joined eight states earlier this year in the new "Hot Lotto" game, a similar game with a jackpot currently of more than $4.3 million.

Van Petten said Kansas has bucked the national trend of declining lottery sales caused by higher gasoline prices, leaving people with less money to spend.

The increase in instant game sales was attributed to new "Made in Kansas" tickets, in which players can win up to $10,000. But losers also can win prizes linked to Kansas manufacturers, retailers or events.

For example, 25 players won passes to the U.S. Senior Open golf championship, which concluded Sunday in Hutchinson. Other prizes include Chevrolet Malibus manufactured in Kansas City, Kan., and Big Dog Motorcycles made in Wichita.

Sales from the lottery's Veterans Benefit instant games generated $717,112 for veterans programs and Kansas National Guard scholarships, a 2.3 percent increase from 2005.

While sales were up, lottery officials noted signs of weakness along the Oklahoma border after that state began its lottery this year. Sales were off in the central and eastern Kansas border counties. Officials estimate an annual loss of $10 million to $12 million in sales from Oklahoma, which they say will be offset by sales statewide.

The lottery gained national exposure earlier in July when it sponsored the Kansas Lottery 300 Indy race at Kansas Speedway. Van Petten said the sponsorship generated $500,000 to the state general fund on $2 million in ticket sales. The lottery paid $336,500 for its racing promotions contract last year.

"We think it was very positive. We think we got the bang for our buck," Van Petten said.

The Kansas Lottery 300 logo was painted on the speedway infield, shown nationally every time the cars crossed the start-finish line. In addition, the state's tourism slogan, "Kansas, as big as you think," was painted the grass on the side of the track.

Kansas voters established the lottery in November 1986, and sales began a year later. Sales have totaled nearly $3 billion since, with more than $900 million transferred to the state general fund. The lottery is authorized through 2008 when it must be approved by the Legislature.

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