The Maryland Lottery today reported record sales during the 2016 fiscal year, buoyed by the increased popularity of scratch-off tickets and a $1.6 billion jackpot that revived a slumping Powerball game.

Lottery ticket sales rose to $1.9 billion in the year ending June 30, topping the previous record of $1.8 billion in the 2012 fiscal year. Sales were up 8.2 percent over the previous year.


The gain was fueled partly by the surging popularity of instant tickets, sales of which topped $611 million. That was an increase of $65.2 million, or 12 percent, from the year before. Instant tickets cost from $1 to $20 and are so called because players can find out immediately if they won.

Powerball sales in the state rose $54 million over 2015 — more than 60 percent —to a record $143.5 million.

"Powerball was the second-biggest growth driver," said Gordon Medenica, director of the state Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, which released a report summarizing the fiscal year results. "Obviously we had that great $1.6 billion jackpot."

The jackpot – shared last winter by players in Tennessee, Florida and California — caught the nation's attention and reversed the game's fortunes.

A year ago, officials worried that the game was slipping because of competition from casinos and instant games and because of what the industry calls "jackpot fatigue." After years of headline-grabbing jackpots, many players seemed indifferent until the potential payout rose to astronomical levels.

The Powerball formula, called the "matrix," was tweaked by the game's overseers last October to boost the chances of giant jackpots as well as to offer more wins of secondary prizes. Under the change, the chances of winning the biggest prize went to 1 in 292 million from 1 in 175 million. But the odds of winning any prize were boosted from 1 in 32 to 1 in 25.

Before the world-record jackpot, Medenica said, "Powerball and Mega Millions both had been in decline for a number of years."

Mega Millions had Maryland sales of $73 million in 2016, down from $82 million in the previous year.

But overall lottery prize money was up. The state's lottery players won $1.1 billion, an 8.2 percent increase from the previous year. The Lottery's 4,539 retailers earned a record $141 million from commissions.

Casino revenue was also up. Gross gambling revenue topped $1.1 billion, a 10.2 increase over last year.

That growth is expected to accelerate with the arrival of the state's sixth casino, the MGM National Harbor casino and resort, scheduled to open near the end of the year.

MGM has the potential to become the state's largest casino, Medenica said.

"We think it will be pulling a substantial base from Virginia and D.C.," Medenica said.

State consultants expect MGM to pull some market share away from existing casinos, particularly Maryland Live.


"We've seen cannibalization forecasts of 15 to 20 percent. My sense is it won't be that," Medenica said.

It will be up to existing casinos, he said, to market themselves effectively and ensure they have the most appealing mix of slot machines and table games.

The state received $570 million from the lottery in the latest fiscal year, and $510 million from casinos. The total of more than $1 billion was 6.7 percent higher than in the previous year. Those combined state revenues are topped only by income, sales and corporate taxes.

The largest chunk of the state's share of casino revenues, $402.5 million, went to the Maryland Education Trust Fund, which supports early childhood education, public elementary and secondary education, public school construction and capital improvement.

The horse racing industry, local government programs and small minority-owned and women-owned businesses also received shares.