RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Lottery announced its third-best year in the Fiscal Year 2020 gaining over $595 million in profits which goes to benefit K-12 public education in the Commonwealth.
Lottery profits make up about 10% of Virginia’s total K-12 education budget which goes toward child nutrition programs, early reading intervention, and career education initiatives.
“That’s the third-highest amount in the Lottery’s 32-year history. It averages out to more than $1.6 million per day raised by the Lottery for Virginia’s K-12 public schools,” said lottery officials in a statement released on Thursday.
In numbers released by the Lottery and confirmed by the Auditor of Public Accounts, total sales for the year topped $2.15 billion.
“In a challenging year, the Virginia Lottery rose to the occasion with new technology, new types of games, and new ways of engaging with consumers,” said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall.
“At a time when the gaming environment in Virginia is changing and expanding as never before, the Lottery continues to lead the way with integrity, solid business practices, and innovation – all to benefit K-12 education in Virginia.”
Virginia Lottery players won over $1.3 billion in prizes and of the 5,300 retail partners with the Lottery, over $120 million was earned in sales commissions.
Lottery officials said that typically, the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot during the year boosts sales but this year, Scratcher tickets accounted for $1.16 billion in sales.
A Haymarket man who won the $10 million top prize on an Extreme Millions Scratcher ticket in Manassas was the biggest single win of the year.
Officials said that about $14 million in prize money went unclaimed throughout the year. Most were in small prizes, although two Cash 5 tickets, each worth $100,000, also went unclaimed.
By law, unclaimed prizes go to Virginia’s Literary Fund, which provides low-interest loans to localities for public school construction, renovations, and technology upgrades.
“Along with generating funds for education, the Virginia Lottery continued its acclaimed Thank a Teacher campaign in FY20. During Teacher Appreciation Week, digital thank-you cards featuring artwork created by Virginia students were sent to more than 6,000 K-12 public school teachers,” the statement said.
Also in FY20, the Lottery’s Play Responsibly campaign was recognized with certification in a joint program by the National Council on Problem Gambling and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.
“We take pride in presenting our products ethically and responsibly,” said Virginia Lottery Board Chairman Ferhan Hamid. “Working to raise awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction is an important part of our consumer focus.”
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