BOSTON — The Massachusetts Lottery surpassed the $1 billion mark in net profits for the first time in its history, raking in $1.035 billion in fiscal 2017 despite declining sales, officials announced Monday.
Estimated sales of $5.093 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30 dropped below the $5.233 billion in sales the previous year, which marked an all-time high, Lottery executive director Michael Sweeney said Monday at a Lottery Commission meeting.
The Lottery reported a record high of $915 million in Keno sales, attributing it in part to a continued expansion of agents offering the game. Meanwhile, Powerball sales fell by $47.2 million from fiscal 2016 and instant ticket sales dropped 2.7 percent to $3.5 billion.
The Lottery’s prize payout declined year over year, according to numbers released at the meeting. An estimated 72 percent of revenue, or $3.668 billion, was returned to players as winnings last year, down from the 73.4 percent or approximately $3.8 billion in fiscal 2016.
According to the Lottery, payouts fluctuate annually, based on when players cash in their prizes. The last time the percentage dropped year to year was in fiscal 2014, when it fell to 72.3 percent from the previous year’s 72.6 percent, financial statements show.
As the Lottery grapples with declining sales, it has been seeking legislative approval to sell existing products online, citing increasing competition from the growing Massachusetts casino industry and online gaming like daily fantasy sports. Legislators so far have not embraced the Lottery’s request.
Comptroller Thomas Shack, who serves on the Lottery…
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