FRANKLIN – The Powerball lottery has been in the news in Idaho lately. Lotteries bring a lot of income into the state and Powerball brings in the most cash. And folks from the Beehive State visit Idaho boarder towns to get their lottery fix.
In March, Tailer Olsen of Lewiston claimed a $50,000 Powerball prize from a ticket she purchased at Fast Stop in Franklin. She and her husband took the family on a four-hour drive to Boise to claim their winnings on Monday evening, March 15, 2021.
“We come to Idaho to buy our Powerball tickets,” said Olsen with a big grin as she received her oversized souvenir check. “My husband had to arrange time off work. He was telling everyone that we hit the Powerball!”
Olsen said she plays Powerball regularly, visiting the stores along the Idaho-Utah border a few miles from their home twice a week. Her winning ticket missed the jackpot by one number.
For selling the ticket, Fast Stop receives a bonus from the Idaho Lottery of $5,000.
Powerball is the of the most recognized brand of lottery in America and the owners of the game were looking at expanding to other countries, causing lawmakers to reevaluate Idaho code.
The Gem State was one of the first to embrace Powerball some 30 years ago.
Idaho State Representative Marc Gibbs said he thinks Idaho legislators are not ready to give up on Powerball.
“The company that owns Powerball was trying to expand the operation to include the UK and Australia,” Gibbs said. “I don’t think the expansion to other countries was going as well as they planned.”
If Idaho were to lose Powerball, education would take a $17 million hit. Utah residents are driving to Malad and Franklin to buy lottery tickets, bringing millions of dollars to those towns. That would stop.
“The Idaho state code allows for lotteries that are only played in the United States and Canada,” he said. “We needed to pass a bill so Idaho can get out of the America/Canada-only lotteries.”
As of Tuesday, May 22, the estimated Powerball Jackpot was around $36 million.
The Grace farmer was worried that if they do not get the lottery situation fixed people will drive to Evanston and spend their money there.
David Workman, the Idaho Lottery public information specialist, estimates the state receives an estimated $600 million in dividends over the years from Powerball alone.
“Idaho has received $14 million a year for the last 10 years from Powerball,” Workman said. “The total Powerball sales between Franklin and Oneida Counties, 12 months ago to today is $5,863,059.”
Franklin County received $1,431,116 revenue from Powerball sales and Oneida County received $4,431,943.
There is not an issue with Powerball, said Craig Corbett, chairman of the Idaho lottery commission.
“If we lost Powerball, it would be a tremendous loss for our local vendors,” he said. “Things are pretty tight for them right now. Some are going through some tough times and they can’t wait another year for lawmakers to fix the situation.”
Powerball tickets cost $2 per play and are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The overall chance of winning a prize are 1 in 24.9. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.