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Md. lottery sales set record, boost revenue, winning payout


The Maryland Lottery Agency sold more tickets than ever last fiscal year and generated record revenues for the state, lottery officials reported yesterday.

Lottery sales from July 1, 1999, to June 30, 2000, increased by $93 million from the previous year, to $1.17 billion. That figure broke the previous $1.1 billion ticket sales record set in the mid-1990s.

The lottery also paid more than $657 million on winning tickets - up from $580 million the previous year - and produced $401 million in revenues for the state.

"We had a great year, the best year we have ever had," said lottery director Buddy Roogow. With slotsin Delaware and West Virginia, "we have a difficult environment in Maryland," Roogow said. "This is significant for us."

The biggest increases in sales were in the Keno, Pick 4 and instant games, Roogow said. Instant ticket sales increased $44 million, and Keno sales $30 million.

There also was a boost in Big Game tickets when the multistate lottery rose to a record $363 million jackpot in May. Maryland and six other states participate in the Big Game; the states receive revenues from the portion of tickets they sell.

But lottery officials reported declines in sales of tickets for two of the oldest, most traditional games - Pick 3 and Lotto. Pick 3 sales dropped 1.8 percent last year, while Lotto sales fell more than 8 percent.

Lotto sales in Maryland - as well as in many other states across the country - have slumped with the growing popularity of such multi-state games as Big Game and Powerball, which have astronomical odds but offer much larger jackpots.

Roogow suggested that lottery officials might look at increasing the cash prizes for players who match several of the six numbers in the Lotto game.

The $401 million in state revenues generated by the lottery is about $11 million more than was projected by state budget officials, Roogow said, and about $378 million of that will go to the General Fund - including $10 million to support the horse racing industry. The other $23 million will go to the Maryland Stadium Authority.

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