TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Lottery will begin installing an additional 500 instant ticket vending machines around the state next week because they've become so popular with players.
The Lottery started installing 1,000 vending machines last fall and they exceeded expectations. They have generated about $200 million in their first year of operation.
Lottery spokeswoman Connie Barnes says the agency hopes to have all 1,500 instant ticket vending machines, or ITVM's, up and running by Thanksgiving.
"We feel that the ITVM's, which were introduced last fall, have been a tremendous plus for us. So we will just continue to monitor their performance in the future and see if they continue to generate additional sales foreducation."
The instant ticket vending machines are a bright spot in a down year for the Florida Lottery. Overall sales dropped $70 million last year.
Barnes says consumers like the vending machines because they're so easy to use.
"Being able to go to the machines and sort of take their time and look at a variety of different scratch-off game options and being able to purchase it directly rather than having to stand in sometimes long lines at retailer locations is definitely a benefit to players."
The instant ticket vending machines have been good for retailers too, according to one study. It shows retailers that have the machines experienced a 17 percent increase in sales.
Total Lottery sales were down about two percent last year to $3.9 billion. Barnes says the recession has dampened sales, but the vending machines and Powerball are both showing strong demand.