The West Virginia Lottery recently hit the jackpot itself. That’s because Powerball ticket sales leaped into the stratosphere along with the historic top prize of $2.04 billion in November.
With the Mountain State’s sales mirroring the Powerball fever taking hold nationally in the lead-up to that drawing, the West Virginia Lottery took in almost $8.5 million.
West Virginia Lottery director John Myers reported on Powerball sales to the Lottery Commission on Nov. 30. At that time, the reported total equaled about $5.8 million. That came in at about 10 times more than the Lottery usually takes in during one week, according to Myers.
That figure, however, only accounted for Powerball tickets sold between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5. At the time of the Commission meeting, Powerball ticket sales reports for Nov. 6 and 7 were still pending.
Once the Lottery factored in those days’ sales numbers, the final tally was $2.65 million higher, a Lottery spokesperson told Play West Virginia. “The large jackpot was certainly an impact,” Myers said, perhaps stating the obvious.
More West Virginia Lottery winning numbers
The Lottery itself has been winning since the start of fiscal year 2023, Myers reported. Through October, in FY23’s first four months, the Lottery’s revenues climbed 2% ahead of last year’s for the same period.
Revenue so far has reached $436.6 million.
Myers also told the Commission that the Lottery was seeing steady numbers in sports betting revenue. He admitted, however, that sports betting figures have come in at a little less than what the Lottery originally expected.
But he added that the Lottery has been meeting projections “for just about every year after the first year.” And in October, sports betting took in even more revenue than the Lottery had anticipated — $500,000.
A historic Powerball drawing
The reason behind the high sales figure was indeed the historically high jackpot. The drawing for that had been set for the night of Monday, Nov. 7.
On that night, however, Minnesota’s lottery sales verification system caused a lengthy processing delay during the eagerly anticipated Powerball drawing. That, in turn, pushed the historic reveal to the next morning.
Tuesday morning, after more than three months of Powerball jackpots rolling over — and over again — someone finally won the ballooning jackpot. And in the lead-up to that national bated-breath moment, the West Virginia Lottery — like lotteries across the country — experienced record numbers of ticket sales.
Ultimately, the Powerball sun shone down on a Southern Californian who won the mind-blowing jackpot. That increased the winner’s bank account by an incredible $2.04 billion. Or, if they chose the lump sum option, they scored $997.6 million before taxes.
That kind of prize could end up being the norm, as bigger jackpots seem to be a growing trend for Powerball. Over the last five years, five jackpots have exceeded a billion dollars.
That’s happening by lottery design, according to an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross. With more number combinations added in 2015, for instance, the odds of hitting a jackpot climbed sizably.
The odds for the Nov. 7 jackpot landed at one in 292.2 million.
Additionally, higher interest rates at drawing times increase prizes if winners take the annuity option. And the Multistate Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, puts more of its revenue into jackpots rather than smaller prizes now.
State lotteries won with the biggest Powerball jackpot ever
Of course, the West Virginia Lottery wasn’t the only state lottery to see its revenue jump as hopeful folks scooped up lottery tickets. Here’s how a few other state lottery revenues fared during the world-record-setting Powerball run-up:
- Arkansas: $11 million, up from $2.1 million in November 2021
- New York: $225 million between Aug. 6 and Nov. 7
- Oregon: $33 million from Aug. 3 to Nov. 7
Some people in states without lotteries even drove to other states that have them to enter the biggest Powerball drawing ever … so far.