Washington State Lottery Eclipses $1 Billion in Sales

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Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets are displayed. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP.

Breaking the norm, the State Lottery steals the spotlight from Washington sports betting, celebrating its 40th year with an impressive milestone of over $1 billion in sales for the first time.

Lottery Makes Buying Easier

It was touch and go as to if, or when, the $1 billion milestone would be reached with only 30 hours left in the fiscal year. However, the sales continued to roll in and soon enough the magic number was reached.

Washington’s Lottery Acting Director Joshua Johnston said in a statement, “We’ve been celebrating our 40th anniversary all year long, but this is definitely icing on the cake. Our mission is simple: generate sales that grow contributions to our beneficiaries, so being able to hit records on both fronts is truly incredible.”

Several factors could have influenced the surge in lottery sales but one that leaps to mind is the acceptance of debit cards to pay for lottery purchases.

And although the precise amount of money wagered through the Washington Lottery remains unknown, reported estimates are that it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.03 billion which would surpass the previous record of $953.4 million set in 2021 by some $50 million.

Funding Education

The banner year in lottery sales will fund the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account to the tune of over $230 million.

Director Johnston stated in a press release, “It’s been a terrific year for Washington’s Lottery and our beneficiaries. Everyone here is really proud and motivated to see what we can do in the year to come.”

“This means more money for college scholarships, more for early childhood education, more for economic development, more to combat problem gambling, and more for other important state projects. It’s really fulfilling for all of us here at Washington’s Lottery to know that we had a hand in helping make those things happen.”

According to the press release issued by the Washington Lottery, “With that record sales number, Washington’s Lottery will also set another record for the most money contributed to its beneficiaries during a single year, when its disbursements go out later this year.

“The Lottery’s primary beneficiary is the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, which funds early childhood education, college grants, and other vital education programs across the state.”

Powerball Winner

And to cap it all off, an Auburn, Washington resident named Becky Bell won a stunning $754 million Powerball jackpot. The longtime Boeing Company employee was as shocked as anyone when she realized her numbers; 5, 11, 22, 23, and 69 with 7 as the Powerball number were an exact match.

“I’ve never won more than $20 in my life,” Bell said in a statement to Washington’s Lottery officials. “So, you can imagine my shock when I realized what had just happened. I just broke down and cried.”

Acting Lottery Director Johnston said, “She worked at Boeing, they had just rolled the last 747 off the line and just felt like there was an omen,” said Johnston. “She bought one more ticket and it just happened to be the big winner.”