Virginia Lottery Raises Nearly $780 Million For Public Schools

Written By Russ Mitchell on August 17, 2022 - Last Updated on August 1, 2023
Virginia Lottery education funding is a big winner.

Bouncing lotto balls and colorful scratchers added up to some huge numbers for Virginia Lottery education funding.

The Virginia Lottery on Tuesday announced its final numbers for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), which ended June 30.

With $779.6 million in profits, the state called K-12 public education “the big winner” from its lotto and scratch games.

Kelly Gee is the Virginia Lottery executive director. She said a wide variety of games put the Virginia Lottery on its record pace.

Retailers also benefitted from the windfall through commissions and bonuses.

“We had positive impacts in every corner of the state, from players winning record amounts of prizes to retailers benefitting from their ticket sales,” Gee said. “All of this means great news for our K-12 public schools.”

Virginia Lottery education funding ‘indispensable’

Altogether, the $779.6 million averaged out to a $2.13 million daily profit for Virginia Lottery education funding.

Lottery funds make up roughly 10 percent of Virginia’s overall K-12 education budget. The money supports vital programs in every school district, according to Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera.

“These funds are indispensable to our efforts to ensure every student in the Commonwealth — regardless of zip code — is prepared for success in life.”

How the state collected its $780 million

The record profit in FY22 came from total lottery sales of more than $3.75 billion.

Virginia residents and guests can buy lottery games at more than 5,300 different stores. Those brick-and-mortar outlets earned $138.6 million in commissions and bonuses.

Of the $3.75 billion, more than $2.67 billion went back to Virginia Lottery players as prizes. The state counted 38 different winners who claimed a win of $1 million or more.

The biggest prize between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, was a $10 million Extreme Millions ticket. A Haymarket, VA, woman received the scratcher as a Valentine’s Day gift from her husband. Haymarket is a small town about an hour west of Washington, DC.

The Virginia Lottery also said its online lottery games steadily rose in its second full year. Virginia first made its online plays available in 2020.

Unclaimed wins help Virginia Lottery education funding too

First, the bad news: More than $17.1 million in prize money went unclaimed in FY22.

Now, the good news: The Virginia Lottery puts the money in the state Literary Fund. It allows school districts to get low-interest loans. They can use the loans for construction, renovations and technology upgrades.

Other highlights from the Virginia Lottery report:

  • More than $6 million in prize money was collected from winners who owed child support. The state also holds on to some wins if the player has outstanding fines or debts.
  • About $158.2 million (4.2% of Virginia Lottery sales) went toward operating expenses. Costs can’t exceed 10% under state law.
  • The Virginia Lottery Board also licenses and monitors casinos and online sports betting in the state. Virginia online sportsbooks currently number 13.
  • Fiscal Year 2023 will include Virginia casino monitoring because Hard Rock Bristol opened on July 8. That’s eight days into the new budget year.

“Virginia’s gambling environment is rapidly evolving and growing with sports betting and casinos,” Lottery Board Chairman Ferhan Harnid said.

“The Lottery Board’s role in licensing and regulating these entities is vital to ensure fairness, integrity and transparency. Those are values that have characterized the lottery for nearly 34 years.”

FY 2023 off to a fast start

Remember that huge Mega Millions jackpot last month? The top-three, all-time jackpot will help Virginia Lottery education funding a year from now.

Specifically, the state collected $30.2 million in profit during the 29-drawing jackpot build. The jackpot drought began in April. The billion-dollar cash-in took place July 29. Illinois claimed the winning ticket. Virginia had its share of wins too.

About 405,000 Virginia Mega Millions players claimed prizes from the July 29 drawing.

That’s impressive because the odds of winning any prize are 1-in-24.

Photo by Jae C. Hong / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell covered news and sports in Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most decorated community newspapers in the state. He joined PlayIA as a lead writer and managing editor in 2021. He anxious to explore the growing Virginia gaming industry.

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