The surge of Hoosiers wagering a few bucks from time to time on scratch-off lottery tickets amid the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up.
Data released Tuesday by the State Lottery Commission show sales of scratch-off tickets increased 4% to $886 million during the eight-month period between July 2021 and February 2022.
That's on top of the 28% year-over-year increase in scratch-off sales during the same period one year earlier.
Hoosier Lottery officials attributed the sales growth to exciting scratch-off themes, games at many different price points to appeal to all Hoosiers and the expanded availability of self-service machines in grocery stores and other retailers.
Data show the most costly scratch-off games saw the highest sales growth during the eight-month period, with sales of $10 tickets up $8.6 million compared to projections, $20 tickets up $38.4 million and the $50 scratch-off ticket higher by $27.6 million.
Altogether, the $1.13 billion in Hoosier Lottery sales between July and February is $40.9 million, or 3.8%, greater than last year, putting the lottery on track to generate $332.5 million in revenue for the state after deducting prize payments and operating expenses.
Records show the lottery this year cracked $1 billion in ticket sales on Jan. 27 — the earliest date it ever has crossed that threshold. The lottery's budget year ends June 30.
In addition to scratch-off tickets, Hoosiers are boosting their purchases of Indiana-based draw games, including Daily 3, Daily 4, Superball and Fastplay, with sales up $4.1 million, or 3.7%, compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, ticket sales for the multistate Powerball draw game are up a whopping $17.1 million, or 30.3%, compared to last year, thanks to two jackpots topping $600 million attracting occasional lottery players hoping for a really, really big win.
Chuck Taylor, Hoosier Lottery director of legal affairs and compliance, said in addition to the big Powerball jackpots, lottery players appear to really like the new Monday Powerball drawing, in addition to the Wednesday and Saturday drawings, as well as the Double Play option to use their Powerball numbers in a second drawing for additional prizes.
The only draw game struggling this year is the multistate MegaMillions. Sales are down $14.6 million, or 33.8%, compared to last year, due in part to players repeatedly hitting the jackpot and preventing it from growing toward the incredible $1 billion MegaMillions prize won in March 2021.