Minnesota Lottery: Don’t Expect Repeat Record Sales

The Minnesota Lottery sold a record-breaking $547 million in tickets—up from $532 in 2014--in the recently ended fiscal year, generating $135.3 million for the state. However those numbers may not be seen again since the legislature banned ticket sales through the internet, gas pumps and ATMs beginning in September.

With ticket sales of 7 million, up from 2 in 2014, the Minnesota Lottery will send a record-breaking 5.3 million to the state, generated through ticket sales in the recently ended 2015 fiscal year. The previous record amount sent to the state was 0,000 less, Van Petten said.

However, the state is unlikely to see those numbers again, he noted, since legislators banned ticket sales through the internet, gas pumps and ATMs, starting in September. The ban followed lawmakers’ outrage that the lottery offered those sales without legislative approval. Van Petten said only about 1 percent of lottery ticket were purchased online, but he said the record sales were the result of using the web as a marketing tool. For example, Van Petten said, the internet helped boost scratch-off game sales by $25 million.

“To be relevant in today’s age, you have to have a presence on the internet,” Van Petten said. He stated the lottery will try to make up for the lost income in other ways. However, state Rep. Greg Davids, chair of the House tax committee, said he will not support any attempt to expand gambling. “If the lottery is having a good year, I guess it means less money for people to buy groceries, diapers and pay for medical bills,” Davids said.

Around 60 percent of Minnesota Lottery revenue goes to prizes and retailer commissions. The rest is split between lottery operations, the state’s general fund and environmental funds.