CHEYENNE, Wyoming -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The 44th state in the union becomes the 44th state to make its debut into the $70 billion-a-year North American lottery system. Sporting what's been called the "jackpotalope," part jackalope, part jackpot, as an icon, the Wyoming Lottery will launch statewide ticket sales with a mid-day, first-ticket sale celebration.
Wyoming has a rich history of making federal, state and local business decisions based on what matters most--the people. Holding true to that form, the Wyoming Lottery decided against having a political figure purchase the first lottery ticket, as has been done in other states. Instead, the Wyoming Lottery decided to launch its efforts with a giveaway event for Wyoming residents. The winner received a 2014 Jeep Wrangler, a year's worth of Mega Millions Tickets and the privilege of buying the first Wyoming Lottery ticket.
The honor of buying that first ticket will go to WyoLotto's first winner - Mary Ogg, a 67-year-old grandmother from Sheridan, Wyoming. Eight additional Wyoming residents won a $1,000 and a year's worth of Mega Millions tickets.
With little less than a week remaining before the Wyoming Lottery's August 24 launch, public interest in the Lottery has been growing at a feverish pace. Lottery officials report that their Facebook fanbase has grown exponentially in the past month alone. "Everyone we engage with is extremely excited about the lottery,"said the Wyoming Lottery Corporation's CEO, Jon Clontz. "The fact that we incorporated a unique Wyoming legend (jackalope) into our branding has created a lot of interest. It's fun and distinctly Wyoming. It embodies the joy and excitement of dreaming in something, that 'just maybe' dreams could be true."
The launch of the Wyoming Lottery is committed to Wyoming and its businesses and is expected to have far-reaching effects, including keeping lottery money in the state. Out of necessity, Wyoming's lottery-playing public has established a tradition of crossing into the neighboring states of Montana, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska, where lotteries have been legal for years. With the Wyoming Lottery hoping to earn as much as $13 million in its first year of ticket sales, those neighboring states could take a financial hit. With Utah being one of the few remaining states without a lottery, Wyoming also hopes to attract its residents across the border to play.
The potential value of gaming revenue to the state helped ease twenty years of concerns and pro-lottery legislators finally won the support of a majority of their colleagues. So, after decades of failed legislative attempts, Wyoming is finally poised to join the 43 other states that already have lotteries.
Overall, the Lottery promises to provide an additional financial boost for the Cowboy State whose steadily growing economy and history of budget surpluses are already the envy of many states. After paying for operating expenses, prizes and the startup loan, lottery proceeds will be turned over to the State of Wyoming, with the first $6 million going to cities, towns and counties and the rest going to education. Additionally, the Lottery has sponsored Cheyenne Frontier Days, athletics at the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming State Fair.
For now, the Wyoming Lottery will offer only the two popular multi-state draw games, Powerball and Mega Millions. "We're currently researching other games and plan to add new draw games next year," Clontz said.
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