In today’s meeting of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation’s (KLC’s) board of directors, it was announced that lottery sales held steady for the first two months of the fiscal year. However, higher than expected prize payouts made it a very lucky period for players.
According to the KLC’s Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration & CFO Howard Kline, sales for July and August were $137.9 million. This is $352,000 more than budgeted, but $1.8 million short of the same period last year.
Income before transfer of dividends for the period was $35.4 million, which is $140,000 less than budget and $356,000 less than the same period last year. “This is due primarily to prize payments for our Pick 4 game,” said the KLC’s Vice President of Finance Rick Kelley. “In August, Pick 4 paid out 100.2% of sales in prizes, meaning we awarded slightly more in prizes than we sold. This alone cost us $1.6 million in additional prize payments for the month.” However, the higher than expected Pick 4 payout for two months year to date was approximately $1,300,000.
Sales for Powerball were up $1 million over the same period last year, an increase Kline attributed to higher jackpots. “We say a $425 million jackpot in August, and just wrapped up a $400 million run earlier this week,” he said. KLC’s President and CEO Arch Gleason added, “Changing Powerball to a $2 ticket really appears to have had the desired effect of raising jackpot faster and to higher levels, and that attracts additional player interest.”
The board also approved amended game rules for Mega Millions. Beginning with the October 22 drawing, the game will have a new matrix. The number of white balls will increase to 75 and the number of Mega Balls will decrease to 15. Mega Millions drawings will still consist of five white balls and one Mega Ball, for a total of six winning numbers. The result will be overall odds of just 1 in 15 to win any prize, larger and faster growing jackpots.
The minimum Mega Millions jackpot will increase from $12 million to $15 million, and jackpots will grow by at least $5 million after each drawing in which the jackpot is not won. Other enhancements include a new prize structure (for example, the second prize will increase from $250,000 to $1 million for matching the first five numbers) and a change in the Megaplier option which will enable a player to win up to $5 million without matching all six numbers.
“Players tell us time and time again they love playing for the big, life-changing jackpots,” said Gleason. “With these enhancements, we expect Mega Millions to have faster growing jackpots – all for the same $1.”
In other business, the board was presented the results of the annual financial report of FY13 operations from the public accounting firm of Crowe Horwath LLP. The board also approved rules and regulations for nine scratch-off tickets and rules for the Keno game scheduled to start in November.
The next meeting of the KLC’s board of directors will be Friday November 22. The meeting will begin at 9:30 AM EST, and will be held at the KLC headquarters at 1011 West Main Street in Louisville. Committee meetings will begin at 8:30 AM EST.