BOSTON (State House News Service) — Sales were up and big prize claims were down at the Massachusetts Lottery in January, dynamics that combined with a successful new scratch ticket launch to help the agency turn a healthy profit and brighten its budget picture in the fiscal year's second half.
Overall sales of $590.5 million were up $62.9 million from January 2022 and only one game offered for the entire month saw its sales dip, Interim Executive Director Mark William Bracken told the Lottery Commission on Tuesday. And the $20 million in scratch ticket grand prizes that were claimed last month was down $24 million from January 2022 claims, helping the Lottery to a net profit of $120.8 million last month -- an estimated increase of $39.2 million over last January.
All told, fiscal year-to-date sales are up $21.3 million or 0.6 percent and the Lottery's estimated net profit is up $12.1 million. Sales of scratch tickets, which account for nearly 70 percent of Lottery business, are still down almost 4 percent on the year. Sales of Keno, the Numbers Game and Mass Cash -- more of the most successful product lines -- are also in the red for the year.
A month ago, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg told state budget managers who rely on the Lottery to fund local aid that the Lottery is "still on track to meet its projection of $1 billion dollars in net profit, despite tightening consumer spending, and an increasingly competitive marketplace."
She said the Lottery projects "flat sales, and therefore a flat net profit of $1 billion" for fiscal year 2024.
"While large jackpots help boost our bottom line this fiscal year, they are unpredictable and not a reliable source of revenue," the treasurer said at an annual hearing on the state's revenue outlook. "In fact, in the past, these jackpots would drive increased sales in our other product lines, resulting in higher profits to the Lottery. Recently, they have merely helped hold us even."
Bracken also reported Tuesday that the Lottery sold more than $85.8 million worth of its "Billion Dollar Extravaganza" $50 scratch tickets that launched Feb. 7 in the first two-plus weeks that the ticket was on the market. More than 470,000 of the tickets were winners (the game's minimum prize is $100), totaling more than $72 million in prizes won so far.
Written by Colin A. Young/SHNS