State lottery breaks sales record — again -- Gazette.Net


Maryland’s lottery generated a record $1.8 billion in sales in fiscal 2012, resulting in its largest-ever contribution to the state’s coffers, officials said Monday.

The state’s general fund received $556 million of that total, an increase of $36.6 million over the agency’s fiscal 2011 contribution, officials said.

“We’re enormously pleased,” said Stephen Martino, the agency’s director. “[The revenue] supports all the good causes of the state of Maryland — from K-12 public education to higher education to environmental programs and socials services.”

Martino said the agency has seen 15 consecutive years of sales growth, and the fiscal 2012 take showed an increase of $80.4 million over the previous year.

Players were paid more than $1.066 billion in prize money, according to the agency.

The multistate Mega Millions and Powerball games brought in a combined $193.7 million, while monitor games such as Keno and Racetrax brought in $521.7 million, up $25 million from fiscal 2011.

But a steady increase in lottery sales — rather than fluctuations during the economic downturn — doesn’t really allow one to make inferences about the state of the economic recovery, said Irwin Morris, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Martino attributed the increase over last year to a combination of factors, including the boost in media attention that accompanied a $640 million Mega Millions jackpot in March. One of the three winning tickets was sold in Maryland.

A doubling in the price of Powerball tickets to $2 contributed, in part, to the increased sales, Martino said.

In addition to regular lottery sales, the fiscal 2012 gross for the state’s casinos — Hollywood Casino Perryville, the Casino at Ocean Downs and the Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, which opened in June — totaled $194.5 million, with $94.3 million going to the state’s Education Trust Fund, which is used to offset spending on local education aid.

According to the state’s most recent projections, made in October 2011, the Perryville and Ocean Downs casinos were expected to bring in $161 million in fiscal 2012. The final revenue figure also includes about $28 million from Maryland Live! during its first month.

The Virginia Lottery also has seen several years of sales growth, going from $1.37 billion in fiscal 2009 to $1.48 billion in fiscal 2011. Virginia’s fiscal 2012 sales figures won’t be released until later this summer, according to the Virginia Lottery.

The Pennsylvania Lottery saw $3.2 billion in total sales in fiscal 2011, up from $3.07 billion in fiscal 2012. Fiscal 2012 numbers will be released later this week, according to the Pennsylvania Lottery.