VA Lottery Posts Record Profits With Introduction Of Online Sales
VIRGINIA — With the successful launch of new online games, the Virginia Lottery reported record sales and profits for the state budget year ending on June 30.
The Virginia Lottery's annual sales totaled nearly $3.3 billion in fiscal year 2021, a more than 50-percent sales increase over the prior year. Lottery profits, which are constitutionally required to be spent on Virginia K-12 public school programs, increased by nearly 30 percent, surpassing $765 million, the Virginia Lottery said Wednesday.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attended a meeting of the lottery board on Wednesday to accept a ceremonial check for $765 million in lottery profits for K-12 school programs.
Official certification of the Lottery's year-end results by the Auditor of Public Accounts is expected in mid-August.
"The Virginia Lottery is tasked with the important mission of supporting our public schools, and this year you really delivered," Northam said in a statement. "Our Administration has focused on strengthening public education across the Commonwealth, and I wanted to be here today to personally congratulate the Virginia Lottery on its recording-breaking performance."
In fiscal year 2021, the Virginia Lottery posted a record $3.26 billion in sales, up from $2.15 billion the previous year. The biggest driver of the increase was the introduction of online lottery sales, the lottery said.
Online sales began on July 1, 2020, the first day of the fiscal year and the first day online iLottery play was authorized under legislation passed by the General Assembly in its 2020 session.
The record fiscal year 2021 profits of $765 million represented a 29 percent increase from the previous year. On average, the Virginia Lottery helps generate more than $2 million per day for K-12 schools. Lottery revenues traditionally represent about 10 percent of Virginia's total K-12 education budget.
More than 5,300 lottery retailers earned a total of $139 million in sales and cashing commissions in fiscal year 2021, a $19 million increase over the previous year.
"The Lottery partners with thousands of licensed retailers across Virginia, many of them small 'mom-and-pop' and minority-owned businesses," Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall said. "These retailers continue to be the backbone of how we reach consumers, and we literally could not do it without them."
Virginia Lottery players won a record $2.2 billion in prizes in fiscal year 2021. Roughly 68 cents of each dollar spent on lottery tickets in Virginia is returned to customers in the form of prizes. Additionally, more than $10 million in unclaimed prize money in FY21 was deposited in the Literary Fund, which provides low-interest loans to localities for public school construction, renovations and technology upgrades.
In fiscal year 2021, the Virginia Lottery also took on the duties of licensing and regulating mobile sports betting and casino gaming. Sports betting successfully launched in late January, and the Virginia Lottery has begun the licensure process for casino projects endorsed by local voters last fall in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Richmond's casino proposal is expected to be presented to local voters in a referendum this November.