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Welcome to the Virginia Lottery online Media Center. Whether or not you're a member of the working news media, feel free to use the resources on this page. If you need help beyond what's available here, please contact the Virginia Lottery's Communications Department at 804-692-7778.

Virginia Lottery - Media Relations
Phone: (804) 692-7778
Fax: (804) 692-7775 virginialottery@valottery.com

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Aug 18, 2014
A record-smashing year for the Virginia Lottery! More than half-billion dollars generated for Virginia’s K-12 public schools
For the first time in 26 years of providing fun and games for the Commonwealth, the Virginia Lottery has recorded a half-billion-dollar profit year. The Lottery announced today that profits for Fiscal Year 2014, which ended on June 30, totaled a record $538.6 million. According to Virginia’s constitution, every dollar of Lottery profit benefits K-12 education in the Commonwealth.

The record profit for the year, which crushes the old record of $487.1 million set in FY12, is based on record sales of $1.81 billion. The Lottery grew sales by a healthy 7.2% during the year, through a combined effort of new Scratcher games, an exciting Mega Millions jackpot in December, a strategy of growing the number of people who play the Lottery in Virginia, a robust website with “extra” prizes and second-chance drawings.

“Our efforts are based on the idea that it’s better to have a large number of people, each buying a few tickets, rather than a smaller number of people playing more,” said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto. “We were able to grow the number of people playing by two percent, resulting in record profits for education in the Commonwealth.”

The total of $538.6 million in profit means the Lottery generated an average of more than $1.47 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools. Lottery profits make up about 8 percent of Virginia’s education budget.

It wasn’t just schools that benefitted from the Lottery’s efforts during the fiscal year. Players won more in prizes than ever before: $1.08 billion.

Stores that sell Lottery tickets also benefitted, earning a record $101.5 million. Lottery retailers, many of which are small, community-based businesses, receive a 5 percent commission for every ticket sold, a 1 percent cashing bonus for all prizes redeemed, various sales incentives and a bonus for selling tickets that win prizes of $20,000 or more.

“The Lottery sales staff places a priority on increasing the number of retailer partners and working to build sales with our existing partners,” said Otto. “Customers who come in to buy lottery tickets usually make other purchases as well, which is good for business, especially at smaller independent stores.”

The biggest winner of the year was Lewis Howard of Cumberland. On Halloween, he appeared at a news conference to claim the $99 million prize he won playing Mega Millions. He actually won the prize in May, but held on to the ticket more than five months before contacting the Lottery. It was the eighth Mega Millions jackpot won in Virginia since the game began in 2002. Mr. Howard bought his winning ticket in Farmville.

In December, the eyes of Virginia and the world were on a Mega Millions jackpot that eventually grew to $636 million. Although that jackpot was not won by a ticket bought in Virginia, sales of Mega Millions tickets in the Commonwealth during the weeks leading up to the December 17 drawing generated $16.3 million in profit.

Meanwhile, sales of Scratcher (also known as “instant”) tickets may not generate the headlines and excitement of a high jackpot, but they account for more than half of overall Virginia Lottery sales, and FY14 was no exception. Scratcher sales were a record $988.6 million, an 11.4% increase.

“During Fiscal Year 2014, the Virginia Lottery celebrated its 25th birthday,” said Virginia Lottery Board Chairman Cynthia D. Lawrence. “We’ve come such a long way since the first ticket was sold in September of 1988. The consumer market has changed; tastes have changed, and so has the Lottery.”

Amid all the record-high sales figures, there was one record low for the year. The administrative rate, which is the cost of running the Lottery, was kept to just 5 percent of sales. That’s far below the 10 percent the Lottery is allowed by state law to spend on operations. The Lottery operates entirely on money generated by sales, not tax dollars.

“We have a stake in keeping operating costs low and looking for savings wherever possible,” said Otto. “By operating in a responsible manner, we were able to turn over a record amount for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.”

It may seem surprising that each year millions of dollars in prizes go unclaimed. In FY14, players left more than $9.8 million on the table. By law, all unclaimed Virginia Lottery prizes go to the state’s Literary Fund, which is used solely for educational purposes, such as upgrading technology in schools and teacher retirement funding.

After celebrating its 25th birthday on September 20, 2013, the Virginia Lottery is now embarking on its second quarter-century of providing games and excitement for Virginians. The Lottery’s mission remains the same: “Contributing to Virginia’s future, one play at a time.”

In the coming year, Virginians will have new games and added excitement at their fingertips. A new Virginia-only game, $1,000,000 Money Ball, will offer the best odds of becoming a millionaire of any current jackpot game. $1,000,000 Money Ball will replace Win for Life, which will end its successful run in September.

What other new games await? Stay tuned!

“We’re game for continuing the Virginia Lottery’s reputation for fun, innovation and integrity as we help generate funds for K-12 public schools,” said Otto.

For more information about the Virginia Lottery, visit www.valottery.com. Follow the Virginia Lottery on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Please play responsibly. 
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Dec 02, 2016
Went in for a ginger ale, came out with $1,000,000 ticket

Fritz SineusFritz Sineus’ girlfriend has always told him that buying Lottery tickets is a waste of money. Now, Mr. Sineus can tell her, “I told you so,” after he won the $1,000,000 prize playing 100X the Money from the Virginia Lottery.

“Is it true that I won?” he asked. “I couldn’t believe it!”

He bought the winning ticket at 7-Eleven, 9700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Richmond.

Mr. Sineus, who is from North Chesterfield, had the choice of taking the full $1 million prize over 30 years or a one-time cash option of $630,915 before taxes. He chose the cash option. The store receives a $10,000 bonus from the Virginia Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

The maintenance supervisor said he has no immediate plans for his winnings except to pay bills.

100X the Money features prizes ranging from $30 to a $10 million top prize, the largest ever offered in a Virginia Lottery Scratcher game. This is the first $1,000,000 prize claimed, so two more remain unclaimed. In addition, two $10 million top prizes are unclaimed in this game.

The odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 2,611,200. The odds of winning any prize in this game are 1 in 2.78.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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Dec 02, 2016
Springfield man scratches to win $1 million prize

Jose VelasquezJose Velasquez is a very lucky person. The Springfield man scratched to win the million-dollar top prize in the Virginia Lottery’s 20X the Money game.

“When I found out, I was ecstatic!” he said.

He bought the winning ticket at Dollar Power, 7012 Commerce Street in Springfield.

Mr. Velasquez had a choice of taking the full $1 million prize over 30 years or a one-time cash option of $630,915 before taxes. He chose the cash option. The store receives a $10,000 bonus from the Virginia Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

20X the Money (Game #1689) is one of dozens of Scratcher games available from the Virginia Lottery. It features prizes ranging from $10 to $1 million. 

The chances of winning the $1 million top prize in this game are 1 in 1,162,800. The chances of winning any prize are 1 in 3.44.

Mr. Velasquez said the winnings will go into his savings.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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Nov 29, 2016
She stopped for a bottle of water and ended up with a $1 million winning ticket

Sydenna SalazarAll Sydenna Salazar wanted was some water.

She had been visiting her brother in Virginia and was now driving back home to High Point, North Carolina. While she was at Car Stop, 7431 Jefferson Davis Highway in Richmond, she also bought a $1,000,000 Instant Cashout ticket from the Virginia Lottery.

Later, when she got home, she scratched the ticket and discovered she’d won the million-dollar top prize.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I thought I must be reading it wrong.”

She had the choice of taking the full $1 million prize over 30 years or a one-time cash option of $561,798 before taxes. She chose the cash option. The store receives a $10,000 bonus from the Virginia Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

Ms. Salazar said she has no immediate plans for her winnings. “We’re not going to do anything crazy,” she said.

$1,000,000 Instant Cashout is one of dozens of games available from the Virginia Lottery. It features prizes ranging from $10 to $1 million. This is the game’s first million-dollar prize claimed, which means two more remain unclaimed. The odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 1,305,600. The odds of winning any prize are 1 in 3.34.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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Nov 29, 2016
Mount Jackson man wins a Las Vegas trip from the Virginia Lottery

Thor HansenThor Hansen is on his way to Vegas!

And here’s the kicker: It’s all because of a Virginia Lottery ticket that didn’t initially win.

The Mount Jackson man bought a 100X the Money ticket, scratched it, and discovered it was not a winner. But instead of throwing the ticket away, he entered it in the Lottery’s Vegas VIP Promotion.

Then on November 9, that ticket was one of two drawn for the top prize. He gets to design his own trip to create the ultimate Vegas experience – a personalized VIP trip valued at $10,000.

“I was very surprised,” he said. “It’s the biggest prize I’ve ever won.”

His ticket was drawn from more than 160,000 non-winning 100X the Money tickets entered. A total of 12 Vegas trips will be awarded, two per month for the next five months. The next two winners will be drawn on December 14.

Mr. Hansen, who works in construction and paving, said he and his wife are looking forward to seeing a family member who lives in Las Vegas.

100X the Money features prizes ranging from $30 to a $10 million top prize, the largest ever offered in a Virginia Lottery Scratcher game. The odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 2,611,200. The odds of winning any prize in this game are 1 in 2.78.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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Nov 28, 2016
Newport News woman with an “itch” for a Scratcher ticket wins $200,000

Jinne Amin“I had an itch.”

That’s what Jinni Amin said prompted her to buy a 50X the Money ticket from the Virginia Lottery.

It happened when the Newport News woman stopped for gas at Stop & Go, located at 14609 Warwick Boulevard in Newport News. When she took the ticket home and scratched it, she realized she’d won $200,000.

“I had to look at it three or four times to see if it was actually a winner,” she said. “It’s shocking. It feels great!”

The prize she won is actually the second-highest prize in 50X the Money (game #1612). The top prize is $5 million. Ms. Amin is the fifth person to win that $200,000 prize, which means three similar prizes have yet to be claimed. Two $5 million prizes have been awarded, which means one has yet to be claimed.

The odds of winning the top prize are 1 in 1,632,000. The odds of winning any prize in this game are 1 in 3.07.

Ms. Amin said she has no immediate plans for her winnings.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

VIEW DETAILS
Nov 28, 2016
His granddaughter’s birthday leads to $100,000 win for Richmond man

Thomas HusterTalk about a great birthday!

When Thomas Huster played the Virginia Lottery’s Pick 4 game, he chose the combination 1-1-2-7 in honor of his granddaughter’s birthday: November 27. In fact, the Richmond man didn’t buy just one ticket with that number combination, he played it 20 times in the November 24 day drawing, three days before her birthday.

Sure enough, that four-number combination was drawn, making all 20 plays winners. The prize for matching all four digits in Pick 4 is $5,000, which means he won a total of $100,000.

“Oh man, I was so glad!” he said as he claimed his prize. “Right now it feels great.”

He bought all 20 plays at A & A Convenience Store, 2739 Hungary Spring Road in Richmond.

Mr. Huster, who is retired, said he has no immediate plans for his winnings except to pay bills.

Pick 4 drawings are held daily at 1:59 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The chances of matching all four digits in exact order are 1 in 10,000.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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Nov 25, 2016
Thumbs up! Richmond couple wins $250,000 in “Season’s Winnings” game

Doris Johnson & Jeff FountainDoris Johnson and Jeff Fountain thought their Season’s Winnings ticket from the Virginia Lottery might be a $250,000 winner, but they weren’t quite sure. So the Richmond couple asked a store clerk to check it for them.

Doris asked the clerk, “Do you see what I see?”

The clerk examined the ticket, and instead of answering, he flashed them the thumbs up. That’s when they knew they’d really won.

They bought the winning ticket at Shreeji Food Market, 429 East Belt Boulevard in Richmond.

Season’s Winnings is one of dozens of games offered by the Virginia Lottery. It features prizes ranging from $10 up to $250,000. This is the first top prize winning ticket claimed in this game, which means three $250,000 tickets are unclaimed.

The odds of winning that top prize are 1 in 734,400. The chances of winning any prize in Season’s Winnings are 1 in 3.32.

Ms. Johnson and Mr. Fountain said they have no immediate plans for the winnings, except possibly some home repairs.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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Nov 25, 2016
“Money from the laundry” leads to $150,000 Lottery win for Woodbridge man

Gabriel JonesYou might say Gabriel Jones found $150,000 in the laundry.

That’s not exactly what happened. You see, the Woodbridge man found a few extra dollars in his laundry, so he decided to use it to buy an Amazing 8s Scratcher ticket from the Virginia Lottery.

The ticket that he bought at Wawa, 2051 Daniel Stuart Square in Woodbridge, turned out to be a $150,000 winner.

“I still don’t know how I feel” he laughed, when asked how it feels to win such an exciting prize.

Amazing 8s (game #1705) features prizes ranging from $5 up to $150,000. Mr. Jones is the third player to win the top prize in this game, which means two $150,000 tickets are unclaimed. The odds of winning that top prize are 1 in 832,320. The chances of winning any prize in Amazing 8s are 1 in 4.32.

Mr. Jones, who works as a server in a restaurant, said he hopes to use his winnings to help buy his mother a house.

“I never thought in a million years I’d win,” he said as he claimed his prize.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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Nov 25, 2016
Powerball jackpot grows to estimated $403 million

PowerballThe Wednesday, November 23, Powerball drawing really brought out the winners in Virginia. A total of 35,359 tickets sold in Virginia won prizes. But since no one in Virginia or anywhere else matched all six numbers to win the jackpot, the estimated jackpot for Saturday’s drawing grows to $403 million.

Virginia Lottery officials expect to sell about 750,000 Powerball tickets on Saturday alone in the Commonwealth. In fact, Powerball tickets in Virginia are expected to sell at a rate of about 1,500 tickets per minute at peak times on Saturday.

If one ticket matches all six numbers, the winner will have a choice: either take the full $403 million jackpot in 30 annual payments, or choose a one-time cash option of approximately $243.8 million before taxes.

The profit from every Powerball ticket bought in Virginia, like tickets from all other Virginia Lottery games, goes to K-12 public education in the Commonwealth.

Powerball drawings are held at 10:59 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Powerball drawings are broadcast on TV stations across Virginia and replayed on www.valottery.com.  The cut-off time to buy a ticket is 10:00 p.m. on the night of the drawing.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game.  In fact, it’s the reason we play.  We generate more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools.  Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Virginia Lottery generated a record $588 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2016. For more info, visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitt