Lottery sees highest sales in state history
By Kate Northrop
The Kentucky Lottery announced during a board of directors meeting last week that its sales are at an all-time high, the largest in the organization's 32-year history at $1.3 billion.
Vice President and Corporate Controller Maggie Garrison reported some impressive figures at the meeting. For the fiscal year-to-date sales (July-April), the Lottery took in $1.3 billion, $369.7 million (39.6%) higher compared to the same period last year.
One major explanation for the sales boost is the way the pandemic affected player behavior and entertainment availability.
"We've been in a unique position to thrive during the pandemic," Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Mary Harville said. "When most all other forms of entertainment were shut down during the early part of the pandemic, most of our retailers, gas stations and grocery stores, remained open. We made sure they were well-stocked with fun and entertaining games at a variety of price points."
While scratch-off games typically make up a large majority of a lottery's income to begin with, sales for instant games went through the roof this past year. In Kentucky, scratch-off sales for the year-to-date period in 2021 were $790.1 million compared to $563.7 million in 2020. That's a whopping $226.4 million (40.2%) difference between the two years for instant games alone.
But scratch-off tickets were not the only driving force behind the dramatic surge. Garrison also reported a 243% increase in online sales, with the iLottery platform recording $107.1 million in sales year-to-date up from $31.2 million for the same period last year.
All in all, the Lottery logged a $290.5 million year-to-date net income, a $82.2 million (39.4%) more than last year and $61 million (26.5%) greater than budget.
"I really believe players rediscovered the fun of lottery games during that period, and, as things have opened up, it's clear they've continued to enjoy our games," Harville concluded.