By Tom Seaver, director of the Colorado Lottery
GOCO receives up to 50% of Lottery proceeds annually to invest in our state's parks, trails, open spaces, rivers, and wildlife. In Colorado, most Lottery proceeds benefit the outdoors. In addition to GOCO's portion, The Conservation Trust Fund receives 40%, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife receives 10%. In years when GOCO's proceeds meet a constitutionally mandated cap, Colorado Department of Education's school capital construction fund Building Excellent Schools Today receives spillover funds from Lottery.
While much of 2020 was spent in virtual meetings, with virtual retail calls, and some virtual insanity, the results for the Colorado Lottery this past calendar year were very real and very impressive.
From a back office conversion to a Scratch game sales record and another clean audit, the Lottery was able to create building blocks for 2021 growth, all while 90% of staff transitioned to work from home.
So what will 2021 have in store? At first, much of the same. I don’t see our Lottery work and social lives getting back to any semblance of normal until summer at the earliest. It would be an awesome way to celebrate Independence Day, to let everyone take off masks. But until everyone at the Lottery is vaccinated (twice), and the virus slows its roll, the state and the Lottery expect to operate with a lot of caution. As they should.
Even with all of that caution, the Lottery has a lot going on in 2021. Our Joint Budget Committee Decision Item, if approved, will allow the Lottery to develop “broadcast games,” starting with Keno, which will allow us to reach new players in restaurants and other social locations. All to accomplish our ultimate goal of adding proceeds for our beneficiaries: Great Outdoors Colorado, Conservation Trust Fund, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Building Excellent Schools Today.
The Decision Item will also allow us to amend our contract with our Scratch game partner, Scientific Games, to utilize them more fully and incentivize them to help us increase revenue.
Some other Lottery growth events for 2021:
- Powerball will change to three drawings a week in August and may begin selling in Australia.
- Lucky for Life will become a daily game in April, with more chances for Colorado to produce our first-ever top prize winner.
- The Denver office will move into the Department of Revenue’s offices at 1881 Pierce St. in Lakewood, although many staff will remain remote or only come to the office occasionally.
- The Lottery plans to attain Level 4 Certification in Responsible Gaming from the World Lottery Association, becoming only the 9th US lottery to achieve this standard.
- “Runyon to the Res 3” annual river cleanup event is planned. And, of course, more conservation work.
The Colorado Lottery is very ready to place a bow on the year 2020, and we look forward to a productive 2021. Together, we will continue to do great things.