CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Seven weeks after joining the nationwide lottery frenzy, the Wyoming Lottery is meeting sales expectations and preparing to add two more games within the next 10 months, state lottery CEO Jon Clontz said.
Clontz said he projected the lottery, which started on Aug. 24, would generate $13 million to $17 million in ticket sales during the first year.
"We're on pace to hit somewhere right in the middle," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The Wyoming Lottery consists only of two games now: Powerball and Mega Millions. Both are national draw games with jackpots reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the first month, the Wyoming Lottery recorded $1.8 million in ticket sales. Clontz said he was expecting about $1.26 million.
While sales have exceeded expectations, Clontz cautioned that a new lottery can be like an airplane that takes off at a steep incline but eventually levels out at a cruising altitude.
"So we kind of have to see how the trends go and where that cruising altitude is for us, and that's going to take longer than a month," he said. "But at this point you can start to see some stabilization, but that stabilization is still keeping pace with the projections."
Clontz said the lottery paid out about $200,000 in winnings in the first month.
Wyoming gives winners the option to remain anonymous.
Under state law, the first $6 million in lottery revenue after prizes and expenses goes to local governments. Anything over $6 million goes to schools.
However, the board that oversees the lottery has decided that $3 million in loans used to start the operation be paid off first before any money is handed over to cities and counties.
"I know we're going to have cities and towns wondering where their money is at, and it will come, but it has to be after the loan is paid back in full," Clontz said.
The first loan repayment was to be made this month, and he expected the entire amount would be repaid in about a year, he said.
Meantime, Clontz and his staff are working on bringing two new games to the state.
"These two games will both be draw games, but they will be Wyoming games. In other words not multistate games," he said.
The in-state games will offer better odds for winning because players are competing against those who bought tickets sold only in Wyoming and not nationwide.
Clontz said one game that is scheduled to be available sometime next spring will be a simple draw game similar to Powerball and Mega Millions. No decision has been made on the other game, which he hopes will be ready to launch around July.
There will be no scratch games because Wyoming law prohibits those types of games.