Legislation creating Iowa’s lottery was signed into law in April 1985. The Lottery began ticket sales just four months later with a kickoff celebration at the Iowa State Fair on August 22. More than 6.4 million Scratch, Match and Win instant tickets were sold during the first week of sales.
The Iowa Lottery’s first draw game was Iowa LOTTO, which debuted on April 30, 1986. The multistate Lotto*America launched in Iowa and six other states in February 1988; the game was the precursor to Powerball, which was co-designed by founding Iowa Lottery commissioner Ed Stanek.
The Lottery’s current lineup of draw games includes Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto Sizzler, $100,000 Cash Game, Pick 3 and Pick 4.
There are several industry firsts in the Iowa Lottery’s history. It was the first American lottery to offer pulltabs in 1987. Iowa debuted the CD-ROM based Treasure Tower in 2000, the first time any U.S. lottery offered a scratch game playable on a personal computer. Iowa was also the first to introduce Touch Play, electronic instant pulltab vending machines, which were in use from 2003 to 2006.
Lottery proceeds originally were earmarked for the Iowa Plan, a long-term economic development program. In 1991, they were designated for environmental and cultural programs, but just one year later, proceeds were directed to the state’s General Fund, where they can be used as needed.
Today, the Iowa Lottery also helps support the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund and Vision Iowa, a program implemented in 2000 to create tourism destinations in the state, assist with community attractions and build and repair schools.
The Veterans Trust Fund receives the profits from four dedicated games each year – two scratch games and two pulltab games. The Fund was created to provide assistance to qualified veterans to help pay for expenses such as job training or college tuition assistance; some dental, vision and hearing assistance; and individual or family counseling programs.
Vision Iowa is primarily funded by revenues from casino gaming in the state. Up to $20 million of lottery revenues annually may be used to supplement the program’s revenues if necessary – $15 million for community attractions in Iowa and another $5 million for programs that build and repair schools.
Year established: 1985
Products offered: Instant games, 3-digit game, 4-digit game, cash lotto (5/35), Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Pull-tabs.