Keno’s “beautiful comeback” adds to Lottery’s resurgence

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FILE – In this Oct. 24, 2018, file photo, media, at left, record people entering the KC Mart in Simpsonville, S.C., after it was announced the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket was purchased at the store. The South Carolina lottery says a single winner has stepped forward to claim the $1.5 billion Jackpot from a […]

BOSTON (SHNS) – As the Massachusetts Lottery approaches the end of what could be a record-setting fiscal year, officials said sales to this point are up more than 11 percent from the last budget year and more than 5 percent from the last non-pandemic budget cycle.

From July 1, 2020 through May, the Lottery had sold $5.34 billion worth of scratch tickets, draw game entries, Keno numbers and more — $536 million or 11.2 percent more than it had sold during the same time period a year earlier and $284 million or 5.6 percent more than it had sold during the same 11 months of fiscal 2019, which generated more revenue and profit for the Lottery than any other year.

Lottery Chief Operating Officer David Falcone updated the Lottery Commission on sales data Tuesday, telling commissioners that Keno, which is often played by people seated inside bars and restaurants and usually accounts for about 20 percent of the Lottery’s overall sales, has “made a beautiful comeback.”

May 2021 Keno sales of about $90 million were up 65 percent from May 2020, when bars and many restaurants that offered Keno were closed or operating with seriously reduced capacity. Through 11 months of fiscal 2021, year-to-date Keno sales are up about 5 percent over fiscal 2020 but still trail fiscal 2019 levels by about 1 percent.

In mid-June, the Lottery announced that it expects to end fiscal year 2021 this week having set a record with more than $5.6 billion in revenue and a near-record $1.06 billion in profits to be distributed as local aid. The Lottery initially projected that the budget year that ends June 30 would yield an estimated profit of $940 million but upgraded that estimate to $985 million in March as sales defied earlier expectations and boosted it again in June.

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