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Texas Lottery sales up for the year

Apr 13, 2004, 5:06 am

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Texas Lottery

Overall lottery ticket sales are up this year even as Lotto Texas, the state-run big jackpot game, is down about 26 percent, Texas Lottery Commission officials said Monday.

Officials said the dip in Lotto Texas sales was expected when Texas joined the multistate Mega Millions game in December, although the decrease is larger than forecast.

Total sales -- including Mega Millions, Lotto Texas, and instant and other games -- are up 5.3 percent this fiscal year, to $2.03 billion.

"I look at the big picture, and the big picture is very bright," said Reagan Greer, executive director of the Texas lottery.

Sales for Mega Millions have hit $97 million since the first tickets were sold in December. Lotto Texas is down from $330 million at this point last year to $244 million.

Although lottery officials believed Mega Millions would "cannibalize" Lotto Texas, they have been determined to maintain the state's big jackpot game as a viable option for loyal players and those unfamiliar with the new game.

Initial estimates predicted a 21 percent shift from Lotto Texas to Mega Millions. Greer said in December that he would take steps to protect the state game if it dipped much lower than that. On Monday, Greer said he wasn't ready to declare Lotto Texas in trouble.

Commission Chairman C. Thomas Clowe said that the panel would watch Lotto Texas sales but that "so far, results are good" with the addition of Mega Millions.

The largest Lotto Texas jackpot since the start of Mega Millions in Texas was $70 million Jan. 31. Since then, no state jackpot has surpassed $26 million, estimated for Wednesday night's drawing. Mega Millions had a jackpot of $230 million in February and $105 million last week.

Greer announced a change to boost the fading Texas Two Step game, which has seen its sales fall 28 percent, from $45.6 million at this time last year to $32.9 million.

Greer said Monday that drawings for Texas Two Step would shift from Tuesday and Friday, which directly compete with Mega Millions, to Monday and Thursday starting with the June 28 drawing.

Other figures released by the Lottery Commission:

  • Instant games still dominate sales with $1.38 billion, or 68 percent of the total this fiscal year, a 6 percent increase from last year.

  • The weekly total ticket sales average is $63.4 million, up 5 percent from last year.

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