State lotteries exceed expectations in 2020

Sep 25, 2020, 4:29 pm (10 comments)

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Despite hardships, lotteries are breaking sales records

By Kate Northrop

In previous months defined by economic hardship brought on by the global pandemic, the lottery industry has proven to be a beacon of light, with some state lotteries defying expectations and exhibiting record sales.

The Texas Lottery, which has made headlines recently for its internationally-ranking Lotto Texas jackpot (now standing at $45.5 million), is also exceeding expectations with its 10th-consecutive record-breaking year. This 2020 fiscal year, the Lottery reported a whopping $6.704 billion in sales, a $452.5 million (7.2%) increase over the 2019 fiscal year, which meant a large contribution to education and other programs.

The Lottery allocated $1.661 billion to the Foundation School Fund and $22.2 million to the Fund for Veterans' Assistance, the largest contributions to the state's education and veteran programs to-date.

"In a year marked by uncertainty in so many ways, these record achievements are especially noteworthy," Chairman of the Texas Lottery Commission Robert G. Rivera said in a press release. "Our retailers should be proud as we are of their hard work and support for the schoolchildren and veterans of Texas. Likewise, we owe a debt of gratitude to our employees and vendor partners for their dedication, attention to detail and hard work in helping us achieve these record results."

Like most other state lotteries, the Georgia Lottery initially saw a dent in sales due to the pandemic in March. The Lottery combated this by pushing online play on its website and mobile app. In the last quarter, the Lottery bounced back and finished up the fiscal year with over a billion dollars in profits and saw the ninth consecutive year in growth.

"Our FY20 results are a reflection of the fortitude and commitment of many," Gretchen Corbin, the President and CEO of the Georgia Lottery said in a news release. "As with all companies, 2020 has been a historic year, challenging us to the max, which makes me even more honored to report this record year of returns for education. Our team has been laser focused on delivering the greatest amount possible to the state in a year where we first focused on outpacing 2019, the year of one of the largest jackpots in history, and then added COVID-19 challenges to our goal to surmount."

Not too far off was the Kentucky Lottery, which posted record sales for the 2020 fiscal year of $1.203 billion, $73.8 million (6.2%) more than last year. The Lottery transferred 278.5 million to the state, with $271.4 million allocated toward college scholarships, grants, education programs, and the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) Fund for high school students. Transfers were $7.5 million, or 2.8%, more than last year, also a record for the Lottery in its 31-year history.

"This was truly a successful year for not only the Commonwealth, but players and retailers as well," Kentucky Lottery Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Howard Kline said. "Our players saw a record $801.2 million in prizes paid, while our hard-working retailers realized a record-setting $71 million in commissions."

The Arizona Lottery boasted an exceptional performance, recording its second consecutive record-breaking fiscal year. Total sales for the state Lottery reached more than $1.09 billion while prize payouts exceeded $1 billion for the very first time, which was boosted thanks to the $414 million Mega Millions ticket claimed there in June.

The North Carolina Lottery surpassed last year's sales by $20.6 million, nearly 3%, to reach $729.8 million in revenue. The Lottery generated an average of almost $2 million a day in the 2020 fiscal year.

The Minnesota Lottery made headlines as well, boasting their third straight year setting a new sales record and reaching $668.6 million in revenue. Over $423 million, or about 63%, went to players in prizes, while $156 million was directed to state's general fund and environmental and conversation programs.

Although multi-state draw games have not been very popular as of late, quite a few states attribute their successful performances to substantial increases in scratch-off sales that supplement them. Texas saw a 14.7% increase in scratch-off revenue in the past year alone, amassing $5.556 billion — that's 82.9% of the Lottery's total sales.

In another instance, the Kentucky Lottery saw sales for multi-state games Powerball and Mega Millions plummet $23.6 million (32.1%) and $26.1 million (41.4%), respectively. While scratch-off tickets normally make up a large portion of game portfolio sales to begin with, Kentucky reported a hefty $71.9 million (10.7%) increase in scratch-off sales since last year.

"From a situation where things initially looked like they could turn bleak, we ended up with a win-win all the way around," Kline of Kentucky said.

While everyday life continues to stabilize and players eventually, and hopefully, regain confidence in draw games once more, it remains to be seen how current events shape future trends in the lottery and gaming industry. Given the record-breaking performances of multiple state lotteries, those prospects look very reassuring.

"The start to the new fiscal year looks very promising, but we're in uncharted waters," Marty Gibbs, the Kentucky Lottery's Interim President and CEO said. "The continuing pandemic — and its effects on the economy — do create some level of uncertainty moving forward. We'll continue to provide fun and entertaining games in a socially responsible manner nonetheless, as we know Kentucky's college students are counting on us now more than ever."

Lottery Post Staff



Just had to smile thinking of the lottery haters in Texas trying to get rid of their lottery.   Kind of makes them eat their words.

Not surprised about MM & PB sales off in KY.   When you shoot yourself in the foot, i.e. lower starting jackpots, snail's pace incremental increases, what do you expect? 


All US lotteries -- not just State -- did and do well. But for some reason, the Powerball and Mega Millions decided to shaft everyone with lower than usual starting jackpots and laughable increases due to Covid.

Canada, Europe and other parts of the world have lotteries and were hit as hard - if not harder by Covid - yet their lotteries did not change one bit.

Goldrock$'s avatarGoldrock$

I'm beginning to think of the lotteries as organized crime. No matter what they get or do to make them more money they are steadily raising this or lowering that till they can take from us all they can get away with? I have plenty more to say but I don't have time right now,I have to get my numbers ready to play. Oh I still love the dollar and a dream!!!

rcbbuckeye's avatarrcbbuckeye

Frankly, scratch offs are the driving force for lotteries these days. At least in Texas, scratchers outsell everything else. As for me, I rarely buy them. I just never liked them. But, I probably would do better if I played them instead of jackpot draw games.


Drug,Alcohol and Gambling addicts will continue until their last cent so nothing to worry for these lotteries 


Quote: Originally posted by Bleudog101 on Sep 25, 2020

Just had to smile thinking of the lottery haters in Texas trying to get rid of their lottery.   Kind of makes them eat their words.

Not surprised about MM & PB sales off in KY.   When you shoot yourself in the foot, i.e. lower starting jackpots, snail's pace incremental increases, what do you expect? 

Don't want folks to misconstrue my second sentence and by the replies nobody has.   Wasn't meant to criticize my KY lottery, but to the powers to be that ruined MM & PB for everyone.  Maybe I'm a hypocrite, but still these are played by me 4X/week.

Nikkicute's avatarNikkicute

Didn't MM & PB lower the starting pots because sales were lowWhat?

At this time I don't people are trying to spend $2 a ticket.

rcbbuckeye's avatarrcbbuckeye

Personally, I'm focusing on Tx Lotto. But for a long time I played MM and PB every draw. 

When I see people dropping $20 or more on a scratchoff that pays out $1 million my thinking is what is $2 for MM or PB? 

Also, when I do play MM or PB, I'm really focused on second prize. Why? Because the odds of winning second prize are half the odds of hitting Lotto, and at my age a $1 million is enough to last me the rest of my life. 

To each his own, but for me, $2 is chump change. When Tx Lotto is finally won, I'll go back to MM and/or PB.


The casinos in most states were shut down for some time. People need something to pass the time. I live in New mexico are Governor has not allowed the non-tribal casino to open. I buy lottery on a daily basis now.

spartan1707's avatarspartan1707

For Arizona they switch to more scratchers as their main game to play. All other games are about where the were about the same in sales. The hole issue is really instead of offering more pick :-).we they are banking on scratchers to do it all. Though they had 1 billion in prizes paid out they were mostly $1-5 prizes. There are still major winnings to go on a lot of those very said scratchers. Having a digital aka computer run the pick games is also making money. The cut off is 7pm yet you won't get the drawing results till 745pm or later. This has brought up the issue of them manipulating the drawings to have the least pick my.her drawn. Nothing new but keeps overall payouts to very low numbers. Seeing how people have lost their jobs or hours cut to lower pay I see why scatchers are leading the way from $1 to $30 ticket scratchers. Power ball and Mega millions did a stupid move by lowering the roll over increases. Wish I was in Texas to play their Lotto. Back to the Lab to figure out a pick3 win.

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