State lottery profits have been pretty flat for six years. Profits since fiscal year 2005-2006 have shown a two-tenths of a percent drop one year, a two-percent increase the next year, a 2.3 percent drop the year after that, another percent-and-a-half drop last year, and an anticipated 1.7 percent increase in the fiscal year ending next week. The lottery expects its profits for this year to be about one-million dollars less than they were six years ago.
Economic conditions are partly the reason. Cuts by the legislature in lottery advertising so more money can go to education are another reason. But another factor is another big jackpot game that has not paid off for the lottery.
A year ago the lottery added a second big-money game, Mega Millions, to go with the established Powerball game. But lottery director May Reardon says that second big-money game not only hasn’t generated mega-million for the lottery, it’s hurt Powerball. “Mega Million sales have taken a bite out of Powerball sales,” says Reardon.
Big jackpots help increase sales but this has been one of the lowest jackpot years in the lottery’s history because Mega Millions pulled sales away from Powerball. She says players also have changed and no longer chase 40 or 50-milion dollar pots. She says they wait, instead, for 200 million dollar jackpots.