New Jersey lottery revenues rose more than 5 percent in the past fiscal year, topping $2 billion in sales for the third consecutive year.
The Lottery Commission's acting executive director, William Jourdain, attributed the increase to the growing popularity of instant games, particularly the Internet-based Cyber Slingo.
"The impact of the New Jersey Lottery's success this year is felt by the entire state," said the lottery's acting executive director, William Jourdain. "Strong sales translate into more prize money for our players, higher commissions for our retailer network and most importantly increased funding for important state programs."
The lottery is the state's fourth largest individual revenue producer, behind income, sales and corporate business taxes. It generated $793 million for education and social programs, compared with $764 million raised in fiscal 2003, and accounts for 3 percent of the state budget.
The state's 19 community colleges, Human Services and Military and Veterans Affairs departments, and the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf are among the recipients of state lottery revenues, Treasurer John E. McCormac said.
Instant game sales increased 8 percent in the past fiscal year, to $973 million. That includes the state's five online games.
The largest revenue increase came from Jersey Cash 5, which was retooled as a rollover jackpot game after the less popular Lotzee game was phased out last September, said Jourdain. Revenue for Cash 5 jumped 69 percent to $115 million, from $68 million the prior year.
The first million-dollar jackpot winner in the 12-year history of the game occurred within the last fiscal year, lottery officials said. Cash 5 jackpots now average about $250,000, they said.
The biggest revenue producer in the last fiscal year was instant games, followed by Pick 3, which actually lost 3 percent in revenues over the prior year, and Pick 4, which lost 1.5 percent.
The lottery's overall sales growth of 5.4 percent was more than last year's 0.3 percent but less than the 14.5 percent increase recorded in fiscal 2002.
Some 56 percent of lottery sales was returned to players in the form of jackpots. That means 91 million players won a collective $1.2 billion in prizes.
Businesses selling lottery tickets collectively reaped $120 million in commissions, or 5 percent of their ticket sales.