BOSTON (SHNS) – With the benefit of a large and well-publicized jackpot, the Massachusetts Lottery recorded $512.9 million in sales in August, an increase of $44 million or 9.4 percent over the previous August.
Powerball featured a $758.7 million jackpot won towards the end of the month by a Chicopee woman and Powerball games accounted for $34.5 million of the Lottery’s sales. Powerball sales this August were $27 million or 367 percent greater than last August, Lottery officials said.
In August, scratch ticket sales were up $8.3 million, Keno saw a $6.9 million increase in sales, MegaMillions (which had a $393 million jackpot in August) sales were up $5 million. All or Nothing, the Numbers Game and Lucky for Life all saw sales dip last month.
Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney told the Lottery Commission that other products, especially scratch tickets, had good months because of the excitement and attention around Powerball.
“Not to belabor the point but anything above a zero, as far as I’m concerned, is a significant win for instant tickets,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney has warned that scratch tickets make up about 70 percent of all Lottery sales but sales have flatlined in recent years. “I’m interested to see how we do through the month of September because both Powerball and MegaMillions have had very low jackpots during that time period so to me that would be a good test to see where those sales are tracking compared to last fiscal year,” he said.
The Lottery’s net profit in August was $108.4 million, up $800,000 over August 2016, and the monthly prize payout percentage was 71.91 percent compared to 70.34 percent in August 2016.
So far this year, gross Lottery sales are tracking above the first two months of last fiscal year by $26.7 million or roughly 2.8 percent. Year-to-date profit, which includes accruals associated with a $1 million-a-year-for-life prize expected to be awarded this fiscal year, is $201.8 million compared to $199.6 million through the same time period last fiscal year.
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg noted during Sweeney’s presentation to the Lottery Commission that the August “spike” in the Powerball sales graph he presented still paled in comparison to the spike in Powerball sales around the record $1.5 billion jackpot in January 2016. In fact, Powerball sales in August 2017 were less than half what they were in January 2016.
“We never came close to that spike even though this was a significant Powerball and that worries me a little bit,” Goldberg said. “It’s summertime, people are having fun. January was the middle of winter, you had to go out in the freezing cold or snow to buy a ticket, whereas lots of people were talking about this.”
Sweeney said he and his staff will put together a full analysis of sales associated with each jackpot, but said that the historic nature of the $1.5 billion prize in 2016 — the first time an American lottery prize had topped $1 billion — was a factor and that it made it “literally almost impossible” for the Massachusetts Lottery’s machines to keep up.
The two jackpots also started from different baselines, he said. During the early stages of jackpots for both Powerball and MegaMillions, Sweeney said, “sales traction is much lower than it has been in previous years.”
- Powerball hoaxes continue to target your personal information