The Iowa Lottery requested the change, which I first blogged about this spring after Gov. Terry Branstad signed the proposal into law.
Since 2008, the proceeds from the sale of two scratch games and two pull-tab games each year have been dedicated to the Iowa 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 to the IVTF. (The annual total that year was $1.8 million.) We think there’s a main reason for that decline.
While overall lottery sales and proceeds have repeatedly exceeded budget projections, we’ve seen a long-term decline in the sale of our pull-tab games. Pull-tabs have been closely tied to our efforts to help the Veterans Trust Fund, making up half the games for that cause. And if pull-tab sales kept falling, that would pull down our efforts to support the IVTF.
The law that takes effect on Wednesday will eliminate 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’s the midway point of our 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 each year go into the state General Fund, where they help pay for the variety of programs that receive money through it. A smaller portion of lottery proceeds goes to the Veterans Trust Fund. That will continue to be the case under the new law, it’s just that the way we raise money for the IVTF will be changed, with $2.5 million in lottery proceeds going to that cause each year.
As of next week, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all Iowa Lottery games will be dedicated to the Veterans Trust Fund.
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 I’m sure we’ll still sell patriotic-themed games from time to time. We did that even before we started helping the IVTF and they’ve always been popular.