SALT LAKE CITY – Nearly one-fifth of Idaho’s traditional lottery ticket revenues come from sales to Utah residents, who trek across the border from the state that outlaws all forms of gambling.
An analysis of Idaho Lottery Commission financial data from 2011 shows 19.4 percent of lottery ticket sales came from sites on the Utah border, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The owners of those stores say the overwhelming majority of those sales come from Utahans.
Alexis Daniels, manager of the Top Stop Chevron in Malad, Idaho, said 99 percent of the store’s lottery tickets are sold to Utahans. Top Stop is the top-selling lottery store in Idaho – especially busy amid high-jackpot drawings like the $656 million Mega Millions record set last week.
“I’d just like to say thank you to all the people from Utah who come up to buy tickets,” Daniels said.
The data showed Utahans play scratch and pull-tab games far less often. The stores along the border sold 6 percent of the state’s scratch cards and 3 percent of its pull tabs. For all lottery games combined, border stores accounted for 10.5 percent of Idaho’s lottery revenue.
The record jackpot attracted residents from several states without lotteries to the closest outlets they could find. In Nevada’s border town of Primm, a store just across the state line in California sold more than 200,000 tickets the day of the record drawing.
Daniels said Top Shop had a three-hour line as tickets for the record jackpot were sold.
Two Salt Lake City residents won $250,000 each in the record Mega Millions drawing.