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S.C. Lottery sales up by 3 percent; Powerball sales down

Mar 8, 2010, 9:12 am

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South Carolina LotterySouth Carolina Lottery: S.C. Lottery sales up by 3 percent; Powerball sales down

COLUMBIA, S.C. — It's early yet, but the multi-state lottery game Mega Millions has not sent lottery ticket sales shooting through the roof in South Carolina.

Overall, sales are up about 3 percent. But sales for the state's other multi-state game — Powerball — are down.

For roughly its first month of operation in South Carolina, the Mega Millions jackpot game had sales of $2.3 million, according to state lottery figures, as South Carolinians got their first crack at a second, high-sweepstakes game.

For roughly that same one-month period — Jan. 31 to Feb. 20 — Powerball had sales of just over $6 million. That's down $1.1 million from the same period last year.

Mega Millions ticket sales began in the Palmetto State Jan. 31, joining Powerball, which has been a fixture since the lottery's inception in 2001.

Paula Harper Bethea, South Carolina Education Lottery executive director, said she's not worried that Mega Millions is siphoning off Powerball business.

"We don't see any cannibalization of Powerball," Bethea said.

Still, for the opening 21 days of Mega Millions sales in the state, Powerball sales dipped.

Several factors could be responsible, Bethea said, including a struggling economy and a couple of weeks of extremely cold weather in February.

Total lottery sales in 2009 were $1.017 billion, Bethea said, and it is still too early to establish trends in the state's lottery sales habits with Mega Millions now on board.

"We're basically tracking about where we were last year," Bethea said. Total lottery sales last year from Jan. 1 to Feb. 20, when Mega Millions was not available in the state, were approximately $149 million.

In 2010, with Mega Millions available for roughly half the period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 20, total lottery sales were about $154.5 million.

One shift that ticket sales may be showing in the state is a greater proclivity among buyers to purchase the big jackpot tickets for Mega Millions and Powerball games, as opposed to the instant scratch-offs, Bethea said.

The lottery receives a bigger profit from the online Mega Millions and Powerball games than it does from instant games, Bethea said, so transfers to the state for education expenditures are higher when online sales go up.

Bethea said in November, when lottery commissioners approved the addition of Mega Millions, the state could net at least $15 million to $22 million a year.

Lottery officials said one of their initial hopes in adding a second major jackpot game to the state's lottery lineup was to keep dollars in the state that otherwise might cross over to neighboring Georgia to play Mega Millions.

A second jackpot provides a better balance in serving the game's demographic, Madden said, noting that when one jackpot or the other rises significantly, players tend to migrate to the higher-jackpot game.

When a jackpot is won, Mega Millions resets to $12 million, while Powerball resets to $20 million.

South Carolina operates one of the most profitable lotteries in the world, statistics show, with the games turning their 2 billionth dollar over to education last year. The South Carolina lottery also has a low administration cost, consuming about 1.5 percent for internal operations, officials said.

"We're excited about having a second jackpot," Madden said, noting that any trends would become more apparent in six months to a year. "We have no concerns about where we are now."

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5 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by ca-dreamin*.
Page 1 of 1
dpoly1's avatar - driver
United States
Member #66139
October 16, 2008
1998 Posts

Some people like the smaller games and some like the games with bigger jackpots.

I just play Powerball and now Mega Millions .... I see others play scratch off tickets and the daily numbers.

The odds may be better on the scratch off tickets and daily numbers .... but they don't excite me.

I am hoping to be the next Powerball winner from PA !


    joshuacloak's avatar - mask

    United States
    Member #32536
    February 12, 2006
    711 Posts

    intresting numbers,  i agree  with dpoly1 on hes points

    having  both big jackpot games excite me much more then other games my state offer,

    so i play them more often

      both help the state bottom line the same so................

    , long as BOTH games  sell more tickets then just having only 1 game = more money overall

    the real test going to be  how many major jackpots we going to have this year, them things make the state the must money


    100m to near 200m is common  it be the major 300m and beyond that will shape sells besides bad weather shutting down sells for weeks

      rdgrnr's avatar - nw barkeep.jpg
      Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler
      The Hall Of The Mountain Kings Tennessee
      United States
      Member #73902
      April 28, 2009
      15320 Posts

      South Carolina's a quirky little state.

      They make barbecue sauce out of mustard down there and believe it or not some of it actually tastes good. Go figure.

      They have a sign when you enter the state: "All Motorcycles Burn Headlights".

      I'm always half expecting to see motorcycles pulled over on the shoulder of the road with little bonfires going, burning their headlights.

      You never know what they're gonna do next.

        maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
        United States
        Member #37432
        April 14, 2006
        2747 Posts

        My first big win in megamillions came after playing the addictive game for 4 years. I hit for $150 and was pretty

        excited about that. I prefer to play the megamillions and powerball because the lotto people have no control of

        where they send the jackpot winning tickets. I suspect they know to which towns and cities they distibute the jackpot winning scratch tickets.

          ca-dreamin*'s avatar - Lottery-065.jpg
          United States
          Member #70676
          February 8, 2009
          889 Posts

          I wouldn't be suprised if this is true for all the states that added the new games.

          I know people here in IL were excited to be getting PB......I think the reason being they couldn't win at MM so somehow they think they'll have a better chance at PB.