By WANDA MOELLER
---- — OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers.
The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and enrich the lives of others along the way.
But one thing those winners can’t ignore is lottery fever. And that lottery fever or luck includes making return visits to the same store where they first purchased their winning ticket.
Across Iowa, the lottery sales network has more than 2,500 retailers, many of them producing winners.
In Ottumwa recently, Rafael Botello claimed the 33rd of 34 top prizes of $50,000 available in the Iowa Lottery’s “Super Crossword” instant-scratch game. He purchased his ticket at Albia Road BP in Ottumwa.
A few weeks later, Paula Thomas won on a “Deluxe 7-11-21” instant-scratch ticket her husband, Tom, bought for her at the Penn and Jefferson BP, also in Ottumwa.
Those two individuals were the lucky winners. Others were not so lucky, but they keep on playing with a hope to strike it rich someday.
Recently, the Ottumwa Courier asked the Iowa Lottery to release a list of the top lottery ticket outlets in seven counties in southeast Iowa.
Lottery tickets bring customers into their business and create excitement when players win. The players aren’t the only ones winning. Retailers can receive a valuable revenue stream from ticket sales.
According to the Iowa Lottery’s website, retailers receive a base commission of 5.5 percent for lotto games, scratch games and pull games. In addition, they also can become a Gold Star Program member and increase their sales commissions to 7 percent.
Sales bonuses also are on the table for top lottery ticket sales producers. If a retailer increases their lotto sales from 10 to 40 percent over their established sales base, a bonus rate of 1 to 4 percent is applied to the sales over the established base.
If the retailer sells the winning ticket for a Powerball or Mega Millions ticket, they will receive a $10,000 bonus. Sell a Hot Lotto jackpot winner, receive a $5,000 bonus.
In 2013, southeast Iowans spent more than $15.4 million on lottery tickets.
Lottery spending topped an all-time high at $6.6 million in Wapello County in 2013. All five top producing retail stores are located within Ottumwa’s city limits.
Quick Shop Foods, on South Madison Avenue, led all retailers in sales. They were followed by Albia Road BP, Kum & Go #38 on Church Street, Kum & Go #612 on East Mary Street and Casey’s #1678 on Richmond Avenue. Quick Shop Foods sold more than $997,000 in lottery tickets, which include instant sales, pull-tab sales and lottery sales. Other store totals included: Albia Road BP, $752,062; Kum & Go #38, 637,568; Kum and Go #613, 623,693; and Casey’s #1678, 621,501.
Top sales in neighboring counties were: Davis County, Casey's #2481 on South Washington in Bloomfield, $356,655; Jefferson, Kum and Go #134 on West Burlington Avenue, Fairfield, $538,838; Appanoose, Kum & Go #652 on North 18th Street, Centerville, $508,257; Mahaska County, Jiffy #923 on A Avenue in Oskaloosa, $573,221; Monroe, Albia BP on South Clinton, Albia, $155,643; and Van Buren, Circle B on Main Street, Keosaqua, $73,902.
Since 1985, 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.
Thursday: The pitfalls of playing the lottery