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Scratch-off games propel Ohio Lottery to record sales

Jul 10, 2015, 3:02 pm

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Ohio Lottery

Like other state lotteries have recently reported, the Ohio Lottery has managed to increase its sales to record levels in the past year, despite a sharp downturn in multi-state lottery sales, through an emphasis on scratch-off ticket sales.

The Ohio Lottery Commission sold $1.55 billion in instant scratch-off lottery tickets in the fiscal year ending June 30, which was $123.3 million, or 8.6 percent, more than the previous year, according to annual, unaudited sales figures released on Thursday.

Overall, the lottery had a boom year in fiscal year 2015, hitting a record $3.66 billion in sales and funneling $990 million to K-12 education. It was the 10th straight year the lottery has grown.

The Lottery Commission sales totals jumped $483 million compared to the 2014 fiscal year, powered in part by the addition of video-lottery terminals at two racinos that opened during the year.

Money earmarked for education rose $85.7 million compared to the previous year.

Lottery Director Dennis Berg said his agency has been "aggressive" in pushing expanded sales of the Keno and EZPlay games, as well as instant tickets, in part to balance drops in revenue coming to the state from multi-state lotteries.

Keno sales increased 10.5 percent to $328.3 million, while electronic EZPlay tickets hit nearly $100 million, a 17.7 percent jump.

While overall revenue increased, sales of some games declined sharply, including Rolling Cash 5, Classic Lotto and Kicker (collectively down 20.5 percent to $98.2 million) and multi-state games (down 14.8 percent to $37.9 million).

The total proceeds from video terminals at the seven racinos hit $773 million last year, but the lottery received just $258.9 million of that. The Racino Commission received $511.4 million, about two-thirds of the net proceeds.

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