The Pennsylvania Lottery set a record for sales and profits in the 2020-21 fiscal year, generating more than $1.3 billion to funnel to programs benefiting the state’s older residents, officials announced Monday.
While it marked the 10th straight time that profits exceeded $1 billion, the fiscal year that ended June 30 easily eclipsed the prior record of $1.14 billion set in 2018-19.
The revenue was generated from new highs by both traditional and newer methods. More than $5.3 billion took place in sales of scratch-off tickets and draw games such as Powerball and Mega Millions, while another $887 million came from online play — the iLottery enabled by the state’s 2017 gambling expansion legislation.
“We are extremely proud that we kept funds flowing to programs that benefit older Pennsylvanians during a year when many sorely needed this assistance,” Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said in a press release. “We are hard at work to make sure that we keep this momentum going and build on this success.”
It was a nice uptick from prior fiscal year
In the COVID-impacted prior fiscal year of 2019-20, when many lottery retailers were limited in their operations for months, lottery officials had viewed it as a success to come close to equaling their sales of the prior year. While COVID still existed in the most recent fiscal year, it did not have the same impact. Stores and bars were open, and players — some of them no doubt making use of government stimulus funds that had been widely disbursed — participated at unprecedented levels.
Among the points highlighted by lottery officials:
- Scratch-off sales of $3.7 billion were 17% higher than the previous year.
- Games like the multi-state drawings and the state’s own range of Lotto-style options totaled $1.3 billion, up 21% from a year ago.
- The lottery’s $887 million in online play was also 21% higher.
- Sales via monitor games such as Keno and Xpress Sports played in bars, restaurants, and other outlets amounted to $54.9 million, which was a lesser increase of just 2%.
The lottery, which keeps far more of the money ventured by players than is the case when they gamble in casinos, returned to players $3.5 billion in traditional game prizes and $772.1 million from winning iLottery wagers.
The profits generated from losing play are devoted to programs for older Pennsylvanians that include property tax and rent rebates, prescription drug assistance, free mass transit rides, and more.