The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

April 21, 2014

Hoping for riche$ — Part 1

OTTUMWA — Despite a struggling economy — or perhaps because of it — Iowa lottery tickets sales have surged over the past decade in southeast Iowa.

Since the lottery began 1985, its players have won more than $3.2 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.5 billion for state programs that benefit all Iowans, according the Iowa Lottery’s 2013 annual report.

Today, the lottery says, proceeds have three main purposes: provide support for veterans, help a variety of projects through the state General Fund and back the Vision Iowa program, implemented to help create tourism destinations and community attractions as well as build and repair schools.

Yet the Iowa Lottery’s success also has a well-kept secret in southern Iowa. Most of the poorest of counties are among the biggest spenders per capita.

In 2013, lottery sales in Wapello County soared to $6.6 million in sales, which ranked the county as No. 11 in sales among the 99 counties in Iowa. Ten years prior, in 2003, county residents spent $4.1 million.

Spending per capita in Wapello County this past year was $188 per person. That amount, realistically, is much higher since a person must be 18 years old to play the lottery. Twenty-three percent of the county’s population is under the age of 18.

In Polk County, the largest retail sales county in Iowa at $53.3 million, per capita spending was $118.

Wapello County is not alone in its addiction. Their neighbors are fixated on winning, too.

The fastest-growing lottery sales are in two counties bordering Missouri — Van Buren and Davis counties. During the past decade, sales have grown by 237 percent in Van Buren and 129 percent in Davis.

Van Buren grew sales from $200,000 in 2003 to more than $675,000 in 2013 while in Davis Counties sales have soared from $200,000 10 years prior to almost a half million dollars in 2013.

Why the sudden surge? Could it be because people buying the tickets know someone who has won? Or is it the willingness to just take a chance … and, perhaps ... become a millionaire overnight?

Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0617 OTT Wapello Co Fair color photo -L -M Come one, come all to the Wapello County Fair

    ELDON — The Wapello County Fair is just around the corner, kicking off with entries being welcomed at Wapello Hall and the Iowa Agricultural Hall from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, entries for competition will be received from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siegel, Rubel face off in forum OTTUMWA — For Steve Siegel, a political campaign is nothing new. For Tom Rubel, being the candidate is a first. Now they want the same job. Siegel and Rubel are seeking the Democratic nomination for SD 41, the Iowa Senate district which includes Ottu

    May 29, 2014

  • 0530 OTT Oak tatters picture color Oak leaves left in tatters

    OTTUMWA — Trees throughout Iowa have been terrorized by the likes of Emerald Ash Borer and other dangers in the past months and now oak trees throughout Iowa are in a little bit of more trouble because of a disease called oak tatters. Thankfully, tho

    May 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Help fight hunger OTTUMWA — The groups began with a question: How to better help Wapello County residents who don't have enough decent food. Next week, they'll decide if they've found any answers. The food security project, Growing Wapello Together, had small groups m

    May 28, 2014

  • Attempted murder trial set for July KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren County man accused of attempted murder could head to trial in a remarkably short time. Dimitrious Royal has a trial date of July 15. If that date is when the trial actually begins, it would take place just more than 11 weeks

    May 28, 2014

  • Agency aces assessment OTTUMWA — A local agency had a lot riding on the outcome of an independent review. They nailed it. "The credential we just received was to show we are a quality [organization]," said Bryan Dunn, executive director of Sieda Community Action. "It's som

    May 27, 2014

  • County backs bike rides OTTUMWA — Bike rides in Wapello County just received a personal push of goodwill from Wapello County Board of Supervisors. Tuesday, supervisors signed a resolution of support for three area bike rides to be conducted in June. The rides include the H

    May 27, 2014

  • 0527 OTT EMS week color photo -L -M ORHC celebrates EMS Week OTTUMWA — During National EMS week, May 18-24, Ottumwa Regional Health Center (ORHC) celebrated its staff, the community EMS providers and the importance of being prepared in emergency situations through education. The ambulance service at ORHC, also

    May 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moving into the future OTTUMWA — Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning joked after the board approved upgrading the county’s servers Tuesday. “You can put away your quills.” Jokes asides, Wapello County will now have more opportunity to maximize its server resources. The

    May 20, 2014

AP National