It went down to the wire, but Washington’s Lottery did something it’s never done before.
With 30 hours left in the fiscal year 2022-2023, Evergreen State’s lottery surpassed $1 billion in sales. The milestone is even sweeter considering this year marks the lottery’s 40th anniversary and record sales drove record contributions to the state’s education system.
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.
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.”
This year’s lottery sales edge out the previous record by around $50 million
Before lottery sales surged past $1 billion in the closing hours of the fiscal year, Washington’s Lottery annual record was $953.4 million. PlayUSA expects the lottery’s 2023 total to beat that total by $50 million. However, the year’s sales numbers won’t be finalized until a standard audit takes place.
Additionally, we should see the lottery’s contribution to the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, a funding source for the state’s education system, surpass $230 million.
It’s hard to pin down any single factor that drove the state’s record sales in 2023. However, the lottery’s decision to accept debit cards for lottery vending machine purchases likely helped boost sales.
“It’s been a terrific year for Washington’s Lottery and our beneficiaries,” Johnston said in a Washington’s Lottery press release. “Everyone here is really proud and motivated to see what we can do in the year to come.”
Big wins, heartwarming stories highlight unprecedented year
In addition to breaking a record for sales and education contributions, the lottery saw some epic wins from its customers in 2023. Becky Bell, an Auburn resident, was the sole winner of the fifth-largest jackpot in Powerball history this past February.
“I’ve never won more than $20 in my life, so you can imagine my shock when I realized what had just happened,” Bell said in a press release on Washington’s Lottery website. “I just broke down and cried.”
In April, a convenience store sold a winning Lotto ticket worth $8.6 million, one of the largest Lotto jackpots in the state’s history.
And, in July a couple bought a HIT 5 ticket at a Fred Meyer in Lynwood. When they scanned their ticket, they found out they won $360…or so they thought. When they went to cash in their ticket at Fred Meyer, the employee told them they were mistaken about their prize. The couple actually won $360,000.