Record Powerball jackpot spurs sales in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Lottery officials hope buyers also will consider buying a chance to play state games.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: November 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm •  Published: November 26, 2012
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Robust ticket sales are expected in Oklahoma as the Powerball jackpot is set to reach $425 million, the largest ever for the game, the head of the Oklahoma Lottery said Monday.

“Sales have been up for the last week,” said Rollo Redburn, the lottery's executive director. “When those jackpots get up, everything improves.”

Redburn said he hopes many buying Powerball tickets for Wednesday night's drawing will consider playing some of the state lottery games; some of the Powerball ticket sales in Oklahoma and a share of all Oklahoma lottery games go to education in Oklahoma. Tickets may be bought at various retail outlets across the state, such as convenience stores, supermarkets and grocery stores.

If no jackpot-winning numbers are drawn Wednesday night, the jackpot will increase for the next drawing, which is Saturday night.

Publicity about the record Powerball jackpot attracts new and occasional lottery players, Redburn said.

“When you run a lottery, you've got your loyal players …. You've got others that play every couple of weeks, and you've got some that play every once in a while,” he said. “Then you've got people that have never played either because they just haven't gotten around to it, or they just don't like it.

“What you're kind of hoping is that when it gets up like this, the lapsed player … remembers and goes out and buys a couple tickets, and maybe they'll regain an interest. ... Maybe they'll become a player for us.”

Just as other Oklahoma lottery games, some of the proceeds from Powerball ticket sales in Oklahoma go to education.

Half the Powerball ticket sales in Oklahoma goes into the prize pool, and the other half goes to the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to pay for its expenses.

State law requires 35 percent of lottery earnings to go to public schools, higher education, the teachers retirement system and the school consolidation fund.

If the winning Powerball ticket is bought in Oklahoma, the state immediately would collect 4 percent of the money that is awarded in the form of income taxes, Redburn said. The federal government takes out 29 percent.

“They may have some other (tax) liability,” Redburn said. “We always make sure we tell them, ‘You need to get with an attorney, a tax accountant, and figure all this out because you may owe more.'

“Usually they take a little time to come in because they're trying to arrange for that kind of thing … someone to advise them,” he said.

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