Massachusetts lottery profits down 8 percent

Boston Statehouse

Even with sales up more than 3 percent through nine months of the fiscal year, the Massachusetts Lottery has seen an almost 8 percent drop in profits so far this year, the executive director reported Tuesday.

The Lottery has turned a profit of roughly $744.3 million since fiscal year 2018 began in July, a drop from the approximately $807.8 million the agency counted as profit through the same time period the previous fiscal year, Executive Director Michael Sweeney told the Lottery Commission on Tuesday, according to a copy of his monthly report.

Players have bought just shy of $4 billion worth of Lottery products in since last July, an increase of $123.7 million or roughly 3.2 percent over the same nine months in fiscal 2017, Sweeney said. Sweeney reported the Lottery’s prize payout rate — the percentage of revenue that is returned to gamblers as winnings — through nine months is 73.79 percent, compared to a rate of 71.61 percent during the same period in fiscal 2017.

Lottery sales in March were up $50.6 million or 12.8 percent over last March thanks to 271 percent growth in Mega Millions sales and 106 percent growth in Powerball sales. Still, estimated profit in March decreased by $5.1 million from last year.

Sweeney’s report said a “high rate of cashing, including over $45 million in instant ticket grand prize claims during March” and a prize payout percentage of 77.51 last month contributed to the decline in profit. After raking in a record $1.035 billion in fiscal 2017, annual Lottery profits are currently projected at $968 million for this fiscal year and $965 million in fiscal year 2019, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has told the House and Senate Ways and Means committees.

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