Idaho Convenience Stores Push for Powerball Return

Retailers ask state lawmakers to reconsider a decision to withdraw from the multistate lottery game.

April 09, 2021

Powerball Lottery

BOISE, Idaho—Idaho retailers want to sell Powerball lottery tickets and are urging state lawmakers to reverse a decision by the House State Affairs Committee to opt out of the multistate lottery.

“Powerball is good for all Idahoans. Every year, it pumps millions of dollars into the state’s coffers, hundreds of thousands of Idahoans play it, many Idahoans win it, and it helps small businesses across the state,” said Matt Berry, president of the Idaho Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, in a press release. “When you combine dividends, commissions and earnings, Powerball means more than $1 million monthly for Idaho convenience stores. The thought of taking that money away from communities and local economies is frightening.”

Berry urged lawmakers to take action before the end of the legislative session to reverse the decision. “It means too much to our businesses, schools and state to get rid of it,” he said. Association research showed Powerball generated $9.4 million for the state’s public schools, which has been used to repair and maintain buildings and fund a bond levy equalization initiative.

The association also found that over 19 days in March, Idaho received $741,662 in returns for dividends from Powerball sales, $110,868.75 in retailer earnings, $74,166.20 in retailer commissions on sales and $36,702.55 for retailers cashing and selling bonuses on tickets. Retailers sold more than 26,000 winning tickets during that time period, worth more than $520,000. The four largest winning tickets were worth $350,000.

The Idaho Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association also shared that more than 670,000 Idahoans buy Powerball tickets each year, with between 11 and 15 million tickets sold yearly. In addition, the average lottery player spends twice as much in Idaho’s convenience stores as non-lottery players.

Last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would consider allowing lottery tickets to be sold via an app, with the winnings redeemed at retail. Kroger has also begun testing lottery scratch games in the checkout lanes through a partnership with Scientific Games Corporation, the Kentucky Lottery and Blackhawk Network.

To see more of how lotteries impact c-stores, read “Place Your Bets” in NACS Magazine.