October Lotto sales down, but outlook still positive

Boston Statehouse

A woman scratches a $30 instant ticket while playing the lottery at Ted’s Stateline Mobil on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Methuen, Mass. The coronavirus pandemic has been a rollercoaster for state lotteries across the country, with some getting a boost from the economic downturn and others scrambling to make up for revenue shortfalls. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Lottery sales were down $2.7 million in October compared to the same month last year, but sales and profit at the Lottery are both performing better through a third of the budget year than at this point last year.

Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney told the Lottery Commission on Tuesday that October sales of $517.9 million missed the mark set in October 2019. The biggest hit came from monitor games like Keno, which is often played in bars and restaurants that were open last year but are either closed or limited this year amid the pandemic.

“The storyline that we’ve seen since July continues. Instant sales remain strong, up about just over 4 percent through the end of the month versus FY20, Mega Millions and Powerball continue to be off,” Sweeney said. “As we spoke about particularly at the September meeting and the October meeting, you’re seeing an acceleration in the decrease of Keno sales, which we anticipated given the increasingly bad weather” and the expected uptick in COVID-19 cases.

October featured more than double the amount of scratch ticket grand prize claims – $35 million claimed compared to $17 million claimed in October 2019 – and that contributed to an estimated profit that was $7 million less than October 2019’s profit, Sweeney said.

Through four months of the fiscal year, Lottery sales are up $77.9 million or 4.3 percent over the previous year and the Lottery estimates that its year-to-date net profit is $348.1 million, about $29.3 million more than what the Lottery had brought in at this point last fiscal year.

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