Virginia Lottery Fever Brings In Big Bucks For Public Education

Written By Andrew Bain on July 31, 2023
Lottery runs generate big bucks for participating states like Virginia.

The recent Powerball frenzy generated more than $22 million in revenue for public education in Virginia, beating initial estimates by several million dollars, according to the Virginia Lottery.

A lottery run, when no one wins a progressive jackpot and it continues to soar to record heights, is the most surefire way to increase lottery revenue for the states involved. As the jackpot rises, more and more people play, which makes the jackpot rise even faster.

The Powerball run leading up to the July 19 drawing started in April and lasted 38 drawings. As the jackpot rose, new players joined the fray.

Because of that, public education in Virginia will be the big winner.

Virginia Lottery profits benefit K-12 students

The Old Dominion is one of a handful of US states that allow online sales of lottery tickets. Virginia online lottery tickets are available to anyone residing in the state.

Jennifer Mullen, director of communications and customer relations for the Virginia Lottery, told PlayVirginia that they welcome lottery runs.

“When the jackpots get really big, it’s exciting for players. But it’s also really exciting for us at the Virginia Lottery because it means we’re generating more profits for our K-12 public schools.”

The Virginia Lottery initially estimated profits of approximately $18 million during the recent Powerball run. However, lottery players went after the $1 billion jackpot in droves. As a result, those estimates were bettered by more than 20 percent.

All Virginia Lottery profits are required to be used solely for educational purposes via the State Lottery Proceeds Fund. Mullen said these programs include K-3 class-size reduction, school breakfast, special education, early reading intervention, and individual student alternative education programs.

Additionally, all unclaimed Virginia Lottery prizes go toward the Literary Fund, which furnishes low-interest loans for public school construction, technology upgrades and renovations.

Future looks bright for the Virginia Lottery

The recent Powerball run was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Virginia Lottery’s annual contribution to public education funding.

Mullen said there were three lottery runs during the recently concluded Fiscal Year 2023. That will be reflected in the Virginia Lottery’s annual numbers when it releases its report. Profits totaled $779 million in FY 2022.

FY 2023’s funding for education could be even larger. The report is expected to be released at the end of August.

FY 2024 is off to a roaring start for the Virginia Lottery. Mullen said that, during peak times, the Lottery sells $2 tickets for the Mega Millions jackpot at a rate of 2,300 per minute.

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Andrew Bain

Andrew lives in Los Angeles with his wife, where they spend much of their time with their rescue dog, Rory, and their horse, Lancelot. When he’s not working, Andrew’s usually listening to an audiobook or finding a new recipe to cook. He’s loved baseball for his entire life, and his two favorite teams are the Seattle Mariners and the Pittsburgh Pirates (he knows that's an odd pair of teams, thank you very much).

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