Though the economic times are grim, there’s one way Idaho’s still making money: By chance. Idaho’s state lottery announced today that its revenues for the recently concluded fiscal year set a record for the seventh time in eight years, coming in 2 percent over last year. That bucks a national trend that has many states seeing lower lottery proceeds this year, including Washington, where lottery proceeds were down 6 percent. “The principal reason is this is a low-cost form of entertainment for the people who play - I mean, it’s only a dollar,” said Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson. “We know that people are cutting back on their expenditures for a lot of things.” Idaho’s state lottery also celebrated its 20-year anniversary today, with free hot dogs and birthday cake for anyone who showed up to a celebration across from the state Capitol in downtown Boise.
Anderson said the Idaho lottery sold its first ticket in 1989 to billionaire J.R. Simplot; that ticket didn’t win. Idaho’s lottery proceeds are split evenly between public schools and the state’s permanent building fund, which maintains state buildings; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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