Maryland Lottery sales hit record last year of nearly $2 billion

The Maryland Lottery on Tuesday reported setting records for fiscal-year sales — nearly $2 billion — and for prizes paid to players.

Lottery sales of $1.9 billion for the year ending June 30 were buoyed by the continued growth of scratch-offs, also called instant tickets.

Sales of scratch-offs grew by double-digit rates for the third straight year, totaling $676.8 million — a 10.7 percent increase over the 2016 fiscal year. The tickets are called “instant” because players can find out immediately if they won.

“Growing instant ticket sales has been one of the Lottery’s top priorities,” Lottery director Gordon Medenica said in a written statement. “We’re enthusiastic about the direction we’re headed, and we believe there is still untapped revenue potential with scratch-offs.”

But Lottery’s profits fell 8.5 percent to $524.9 million — partly the result of players’ good fortune.

The Lottery said in a news release that it was “an unusually lucky year for players of Pick 4, which saw a decrease of $35 million in profits.”

In addition, Powerball game sales in the state — which hit a record $143.5 million in 2016 — fell to $100.1 million in the 2017.fiscal year.

Powerball’s popularity the year before stemmed from a $1.6 billion jackpot, its largest ever. The jackpot, shared by players in Tennessee, Florida and California, caught the nation's attention and reversed the game's fortunes.

Overall, lottery-game players won $1.2 billion, a 5.4 percent increase from the previous year. The state said it gave away an average of nearly $3.3 million a day.

It said more than 4,500 retailers earned a record $146 million from commissions, up 3.4 percent from 2016.

The state receives a share of lottery and casino revenues. That record total was $1.1 billion during the fiscal year — $592.0 million from casinos and $524.9 million from the Lottery. It marked the first year that the casinos’ state contributions surpassed Lottery profits.

Maryland added a sixth casino in December — MGM National Harbor — that has been the state’s casino revenue leader in recent months..

Combined state revenues from lottery games and casinos are only topped by income, sales and corporate taxes.The casino and lottery proceeds go to a number of causes, including the Maryland Education Trust Fund.

The horse racing industry, local government programs and small minority-owned and women-owned businesses are among those also receiving shares.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad