We’re gratified to announce some important upcoming changes in the help that the Iowa Lottery provides for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund.
A proposal from the lottery has been signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad. The legislation will stabilize the proceeds that the lottery raises each year to help our state’s veterans and their families through the IVTF. Senate File 323 will take effect July 1 and will mean changes in the line-up of games that the lottery offers in retail locations – changes designed to ensure a stable, ongoing source of revenues for the IVTF.
The proposal was approved March 9 in the Iowa Senate and March 10 in the Iowa House before being signed into law Tuesday.
You’ve likely heard me reference before that the lottery has raised proceeds for the IVTF since 2008. I’m proud to report that through February of this year, we’ve provided a total of more than $17 million to this worthy cause.
Under current law, the proceeds from the sale of two scratch games and two pull-tab games each year are dedicated to the Veterans Trust Fund. But annual proceeds to the IVTF have been on the decline for the past few years. In FY 2014, for the first time since the lottery started raising money for the cause, we didn’t reach our publicly stated goal of providing between $2 million and $3 million for the IVTF. (The annual total from the lottery for the Trust Fund in FY 2014 was $1.8 million.) There’s one main reason for the recent decline.
While overall lottery sales and proceeds in recent years have been strong and repeatedly exceeded budget projections, the lottery is seeing a long-term decline in the sale of its pull-tab games. Right now, pull-tabs are closely tied to the lottery’s efforts to help the Veterans Trust Fund, making up 50 percent of the games dedicated to the cause. A continued decline in pull-tab sales would negatively impact the lottery’s ability to support the IVTF.
To stabilize ongoing proceeds to the Veterans Trust Fund, the legislation we introduced will eliminate the requirement for a certain number of lottery games each year dedicated to the cause and instead allocate $2.5 million in lottery proceeds annually to the IVTF. That amount is the midway point of the lottery’s publicly stated goal for the project and also is the yearly average of the total we’ve raised so far.
Under current law, the majority of lottery proceeds are dedicated each year to the state General Fund, where they help pay for the variety of programs that receive funding through it; with a smaller portion of lottery proceeds dedicated to the Veterans Trust Fund. That will continue to be the case with the change in law on July 1 – it’s just that the method by which the lottery raises money for the IVTF will be changed to $2.5 million in lottery proceeds being dedicated to the cause each year.
As of July 1, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all lottery games will be dedicated to the Veterans Trust Fund. The set of games we introduced in January that provide 100 percent of their proceeds to the IVTF will be the last in that series that we’ll release.
We’ll of course continue to spread the word about the Veterans Trust Fund and the help it provides to Iowa veterans and their families. And we’ll also offer patriotic-themed games over time – we did that even before the lottery started helping the IVTF and those games have always been popular.