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Oregon Lottery sales hit record $1 billion

Aug 9, 2006, 10:19 am

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Oregon Lottery

It's official: the Oregon Lottery surpassed $1 billion in sales this past year.

It's the first time since the Oregon Lottery started in April 1985 that sales for the year that ended June 30 surpassed the mark.

For the previous year, sales were a record $937 million.

Record sales also meant a record transfer of $483.6 million to the state economic-development fund. About one-third of that money is earmarked by voters for an education reserve fund, parks, watershed enhancements and salmon-habitat restoration. Most of the rest goes to education and economic development, including bonds authorized by the Legislature.

The 2005 record for transfers was $415.8 million.

Nearly $4.8 billion has gone to those programs in the lottery's 21-year history. The rest goes to prizes.

Earlier this year, officials had projected that the Oregon Lottery would break $1 billion in sales.

When voters approved the Oregon Lottery in 1984, a ballot measure said the goal was to maximize profits for the state.

"That mission remains the same today," Lottery Director Dale Penn said.

Also setting sales records were video games and Powerball, the multistate lottery game.

Fueled last year by the introduction of electronic slots known as "line games," video-game sales increased 24 percent in the past year to set a record of $728.8 million for the year ending June 30.

Powerball drew $58.8 million in sales, a 68 percent increase from the previous year.

Nineteen of the top 20 sales weeks for the Oregon Lottery were recorded during the past year.

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