Things looking up for both players and Lottery as sales see a boost
By Kate Northrop
BATON ROUGE, La. — One gas station in Baton Rouge might find more players frequenting its store for a dab of luck since it sold two winning lottery tickets within one week.
The RaceTrac convenience store on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard received a lot of attention this week after selling two winning tickets for a Pick 4 prize worth $5,000 and a Powerball prize valued at $150,000.
Shoppers and players alike were both surprised and delighted at the prospect of luck and fortune turning up so close to home.
"I come here almost every day, and I wasn't expecting it," local shopper Peter Aucoin said.
"[The news] makes me feel like I should have come earlier and got my ticket," player Myrtle Jefferson remarked. "This is where I buy my tickets, but I haven't been here in a couple of weeks. I hadn't been winning, so I stopped coming for a while."
Now that the local establishment has seen such success in just a short amount of time, playing the lottery must seem a lot more enticing.
"Well, I guess I'll go try again," she added.
It leaves players with a good feeling to see significant prizes being won just around the corner — or perhaps sour that they should have tried for that lucky ticket. One thing's for sure, Louisiana lottery players have been motivated to win these past few months, and, despite the economic slump caused by the pandemic, the Louisiana Lottery has the sales to show it.
"The Louisiana Lottery just finished our second-best fiscal year ever with more than $511 million in revenue," Kimberly Chopin, the Director of Communications at the Lottery said.
Like in other states, sales were reportedly sluggish starting at the beginning of the pandemic due to unimpressive Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots. The lackluster trend continued through the end of the fiscal year, and it was responsible for a loss of $65 million or 40% in sales for these games compared to last year.
"Like so many businesses across our state, the Lottery has faced immense challenges this quarter with the COVID-19 health crisis," Louisiana Lottery President Rose Hudson explained. "The Lottery's success story is a result of the resiliency of our retailers as essential businesses, the ingenuity and diligence of our employees and our unwavering shared commitment to the Lottery's mission to raise funds for public education."
Hudson says the success of the Lottery in difficult times is attributed to players veering toward scratch-offs to satisfy their gaming itch while supplementing underperforming multi-state draw games and closed casinos.
"During this time, new customers have tried our games as other forms of gaming were inaccessible," she said in a press release. "Lottery games provided a fun diversion, an inexpensive entertainment option that people could enjoy at home."
It's all in the numbers — scratch-off sales increased by $39 million or 17% compared to last year and were responsible for bringing in $90.8 million in just the fourth quarter, making it the best quarterly finish for scratch-offs in the Lottery's history.
The soaring sales also mean that K-12 education will see a significant contribution, which amounted to $179.1 million.
"It was $11 million more than what the state expected, so, honestly, it couldn't have come at a better time," Chopin said.