BOSTON (State House News Service) – Instant ticket sales surged well into the black in March, further buoying the Lottery’s financial performance three-quarters of the way through the fiscal year.
The Lottery sold $366.4 million in instant tickets last month, about $57.5 million more than in March 2022, Interim Executive Director Mark William Bracken told the Lottery Commission on Tuesday. He called it a “very strong increase.”
That burst helped fuel total sales of $519 million in March and represented the majority of Lottery growth over the same stretch a year earlier. All other games besides Mega Millions and Lucky for Life saw decreased sales in March compared to March 2022. Instant tickets are the most popular Lottery product and typically make up 65 to 70 percent of all sales.
For much of fiscal year 2023, instant tickets have sold more slowly than last year, but March’s performance pushed the year-to-date instant ticket haul to $51.3 million, or 1.7 percent more than the same stretch in FY22.
Through the first nine months of the fiscal year, the Lottery’s gross sales total $4.64 billion, an increase of $168.2 million or 3.8 percent over the same period last year. Much of that growth comes from higher sales of draw games during a stretch of record jackpot offerings in the winter.
Bracken estimated the Lottery’s net profit is about $909 million so far this fiscal year, a year-over-year increase of about $73.4 million. The Lottery’s net profits get returned to cities and towns in the form of unrestricted local aid. House Democrats in their state budget bill are pushing to allow the Lottery to sell its products online and earmark the revenue from that specifically for early education and child care grants.
Gov. Maura Healey, who in 2014 favored a ballot question to repeal the casino law, said recently that she supports online Lottery sales. The Senate voted in 2016 to approve online Lottery authorization, but the House was not on board. Last year, the House sought to allow online Lottery sales in an economic development bill, but that measure did not survive negotiations with the Senate.
Gaming expansion has been cited in pushes to create even more wagering opportunities. The legalization of sports gambling was cited as a reason to let the Lottery also sell its products online. The legalization of casinos in 2011 followed years of debate, during which supporters said Massachusetts needed to keep pace with gambling offerings in other state.