Pennsylvania lottery sets record for sales, profits

in Lottery

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania lottery profits exceeded a “record-breaking” $1.3 billion for the 2020-21 fiscal year, state officials said Monday.

Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said it's the 10th consecutive year that the agency’s revenue hit $1 billion, driven by an all-time ticket sales high of $5.3 billion, including scratch-offs, Powerball and Mega Millions.

Online play sales totaled $887 million, growing each year since the offerings launched in May 2018, the agency said.

Mr. Svitko said the funds will support tax and rent rebates, free and reduced-fare transportation and prescription assistance, among other programs, for senior residents.

"We are extremely proud that we kept funds flowing to programs that benefit older Pennsylvanians during a year when many sorely needed this assistance,” he said. "Our team is very passionate about our mission of responsibly generating funds for our commonwealth's older residents."

The lottery fund was established in 1971 as a revenue source for programs targeting residents 65 and older. Since then, it has generated $31 billion in aid.

“We are hard at work to make sure that we keep this momentum going and build on this success,” Mr. Svitko said.

Mr. Svitko told the Senate Appropriations Committee in March his department weathered the pandemic well and expected another profitable year.

“Most of the growth, to be clear, are from scratch-off tickets,” he said. “iLottery was a tremendous boost to us in the pandemic because it allowed people to play safely. … We’re a well-diversified business, and we saw that really benefit us in the last year.”

Even though popular retailers for ticket purchases, like grocery and convenience stores, saw declines early in the pandemic, Mr. Svitko said sales — buoyed by bigger jackpots — began climbing again last spring “and are now booming.”

“We have to budget conservatively,” he said. “But for next year and beyond I would still expect us to grow, but that growth will not be what it has been this year.”