BOSTON (SHNS) – A post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases, snow and the dearth of major jackpots conspired to drive down Lottery tickets sales last month, according to Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney, who said that despite a down January the Lottery is still on pace to set a sales record.
Sales of Lottery tickets in January were down $84.3 million compared to January 2021, contributing to a decrease in profits for the month of $44.2 million. Sweeney said that only four lotteries in the country posted gains with instant ticket sales in January, hampered by the surge of COVID-19 infections and a major snowstorm leading into a weekend when people were advised to stay home.
Unlike in January 2021 when Mega Millions had a $1 billion jackpot on the line and Powerball’s top prize climbed to $731 million, the Lottery did not have an equivalent sales driver last month, with Mega Millions topping out at $421 million and Powerball at $632.6 million.
One bright spot for the Lottery last month was Keno, Sweeney said. Keno sales were up $6.6 million in January as people began to return to bars and restaurants and the Lottery plans from March 6 through March 19 to run a “Double Your Luck” promotion increasing the number of games that have a bonus multiplier. A similar promotion run at the end of last year resulted in an 8.7 percent increase in Keno sales and 16.6 percent increase in Keno Bonus sales.
“If everything continues to be normal on the COVID front, we’re expecting that number to be extremely strong for the rest of this fiscal year,” Sweeney said. The $3.59 billion in Lottery sales through the first seven months of the fiscal year are up $122 million, or 3.5 percent, over last year at this time. Profits of $696 million have also exceeded the $673.8 million collected through January 2021, and are still up $3.2 million after accounting for the fact that six extra days were included in the 2022 calculation compared to 2021.