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Independent audit finds no major financial issues with how the Wyoming Lottery operated


CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Independent auditors found no major financial issues with how the Wyoming Lottery operated during its first year of ticket sales.

The board of directors of the Wyoming Lottery Corp. received results of the audit by Cheyenne-based McGee, Hearne & Paiz during a meeting Monday.

Board chairman Mark Macy said the lottery seemed to be "right on track or at least not significantly off on how our operations were conducted."

The audit noted a couple of minor accounting issues that lottery CEO Jon Clontz said the lottery had pointed out to auditors.

"The fact that we're still scaling the business from the ground up, and we can't use state resources ... I think it's a remarkable outcome," Clontz said.

Some lawmakers have criticized the lottery for not paying any money to cities and counties since it started selling tickets last year. Lottery officials say money will start flowing to cities and counties once about $3 million in private startup loans are paid off next year.

The 2013 Wyoming Legislature set up the lottery as a quasi-government organization run by a board of directors appointed by the governor. The law specifies that the first $6 million in net profits will go to local governments, and anything above that goes to a state school fund. The law also prohibits instant win scratch tickets, limiting the lottery to draw games.

The first tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions, both national draw games, were sold in the state on Aug. 24, 2014, and the first in-state Cowboy Draw game tickets were sold March 15.

However, lawmakers did not appropriate any state money to start the lottery, forcing the board to take out private loans to get it up and running. The lottery board decided that the loan should be paid off first before distributing any money to local governments.

In its first year of operation, more than 577,000 players won $5.2 million. The lottery paid out its first million dollar winner on a Cowboy Draw jackpot in September.

Retailers that sell lottery tickets collected more than $1 million in commissions during its first year of sales.

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