Virginia lottery reports highest profits in 35-year history

The Virginia Lottery says it's just closed out its best fiscal year in its 35-year history with profits soaring to over $860 million. 

Several other records were shattered in their FY23, lottery officials say. For the first time ever, sales exceeded the $4 billion mark — hitting a total of $4.6 billion — and of that, a record $3.4 billion went back to players as prizes.

They say the $867 million in total profits that will be going back to Virginia’s K-12 public schools represent a 10% growth over fiscal year 2022, which saw $779.6 million in profits. 

"The Lottery’s business is all about games and excitement, but we also support an important mission: generating funds for our K-12 public education," said Lottery Executive Director Kelly T. Gee. "The unprecedented success we saw in Fiscal Year 2023 is positive news for all Virginians, regardless of whether they choose to play Lottery games."

The VA Lottery credits its profitable year to new games, record-setting prize payouts and the three historic Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots that each topped $1 billion. 

One lucky person in Ashburn hit the Aug. 9 Powerball for $1 million. And while no Virginia residents hit the Mega Millions Aug. 9 jackpot, more than 194,000 winning tickets were bought in the drawing, lottery officials say.

They also say a big boost came from the popularity of playing lottery games online and through their mobile app, including many instant-win games. They alone accounted for $2 billion in sales. 

The lottery also introduced a new feature to make it even easier for players to cash winning tickets like mobile ticket cashing, which gives players the ability to scan winning tickets worth up to $5,000 with their phone and have the cash prize directly deposited into their online lottery account. 

The nearly 5,300 businesses across Virginia that sell tickets earned more than $137 million in sales commissions and bonuses — many of them being small "mom-and-pop" stores.

Here's a rundown of Virginia Lottery results for FY23:

  • Total sales: $4.6 billion
  • Profit for K-12 education: $867 million
  • Prizes won by players: $3.4 billion
  • Commissions earned by retailers: $137 million
  • Operating expenses: $195 million
  • Unclaimed prizes to the Literary Fund: $12.6 million
  • Debt set-off collected: $8 million
  • Largest Virginia prize won during year: $156.7 million Powerball jackpot

For a complete list of lottery funds distributed to Virginia school districts, visit the Virginia Lottery’s Giving Back page