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You Asked: California retailer got a $1 million Powerball payout. Would an Idaho store get the same?


Last week, someone in California won the Powerball jackpot with a payout that could top $ 2 billion. But the eye-popping sum netted another millionaire: the owner of Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California.

CNN reported Joe Chahayed would receive $1 million from the California Lottery, a bonus for selling the winning ticket. Chahayed came to the US from Syria in 1980 and parlayed $14,000 into the service center – and now a cool million.

Though a Powerball jackpot winner in Idaho is rare, would an Idaho retailer see a similar payout?


$50,000 cap

“Had an Idahoan won the jackpot, the selling bonus for our retail location would’ve been $50,000,” Idaho Lottery spokesperson David Workman told BoiseDev.

In 1986, the citizens of Idaho passed an initiative creating the lottery, but the Idaho Supreme Court threw the decision out. In 1998, 51% of voters approved the lottery and repealed a constitutional ban on lotteries. The Idaho Legislature implemented an extensive set of statutes governing the lottery.

Idaho State Code section 67-7414 caps compensation to retailers at five percent of the face value of the ticket. On a $10 ticket, the retailer gets $0.50.

But another one percent of sales are set aside for bonuses, according to the code.

“The director may pay lottery game retailers an additional one percent (1%) incentive bonus based on attainment of sales volume or other objectives specified by the director for each lottery game,” Idaho State Code reads.

Workman said the lottery works to budget that one percent of total sales for different bonuses. The lottery pays bonuses both for winning scratch tickets, as well as jackpot games.

“We have a schedule by which retailers earn 10% of a top-winning prize,” he said. “This comes with a cap at $20,000 for all prizes except for jackpot wins on big draw games like Powerball and Mega Millions. That is a flat rate of $50,000.”

In California, the law allows for 0.5% of jackpots to be paid to the retailer who sold the ticket, with a cap of $1 million.

For example…

Workman provided an example. If the lottery has total sales in a single year of $300 million, it has a pool of $3 million for the bonus pool.

“A $200,000 winning scratch ticket would pay the retailer $20,000. A $100,000 winning scratch ticket would pay the retailer $10,000. A $300,000 winning ticket, or even a $250,000 winning Powerball ticket, would still only pay $20,000.”

If you buy a scratcher and win $10 bucks?

“A $10 win would earn just 10 cents,” Workman said.

The last Powerball jackpot winner in Idaho was 17 years ago, when Brad Duke won $220.3 million.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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