Kentucky Lottery sales and winnings records shattered

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Even in light of unprecedented circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Lottery has posted sales and proceeds numbers that shatter previous all-time records from the Lottery’s 32-year history. These figures are for Fiscal Year 2021 (July 2020 through June 2021):

  • Total sales of $1,586,325,000. This is a 31.8% increase from the previous year, with $382.9 million in additional sales over FY2020.
  • Proceeds to the Commonwealth totaled $354.8 million. This is $76.3 million or 27.4% more than last year.

Lottery proceeds to the Commonwealth fund a variety of college scholarship and grant programs, including the popular KEES scholarship.

Scratch-off tickets once again were the largest individual game category, finishing the year at $961.7 million. This is a $220.6 million or 29.8% increase from the previous year.

The largest percentage growth category for the year was the Lottery’s internet sales. Even though the sales channel has seen steady growth over the past six years since it was launched, Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Mary Harville said consumers discovered the platform during the pandemic and have stayed there to play. Sales via this outlet finished FY21 at $137.1 million, an increase of $92.1 million or 204.6%. Internet sales for the year comprised 9% of total Kentucky Lottery sales.

After declining sales last year, the multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions games both enjoyed rebounds in FY21. This is due in large part to jackpot runs of $1 billion in Mega Millions and $731 million in Powerball which both occurred in January. Powerball sales finished at $61.3 million, up $11.4 million or 22.8% from the previous fiscal year. Mega Millions sales were $50.2 million, up $13.1 million or 35.5% from FY20.

Daily draw games also saw rising sales. In particular, the daily Pick 4 game ended the year with an 18.1% sales increase from the previous fiscal year at $60.2 million, with Pick 3 up 16.1% at $194.2 million for the fiscal year.

And even with many social establishments being shuttered for several months around the Commonwealth, Keno sales rose after a dip in the previous fiscal year. This game ended FY21 with $88.6 million in sales, which is $9.8 million or 12.4% more than FY20.

Harville, who was appointed in September 2020 as the first woman president and CEO in the Kentucky Lottery’s history and is the first Kentuckian to hold the job in three decades, believes sales took off when people were looking for forms of entertainment during the pandemic.

“Early on, so many businesses and entertainment options were initially closed or extremely limited,” Harville said. “The only retail outlets open were essential retailers, including convenience stores and grocery stores. That’s where the overwhelming majority of our tickets are sold.”

“I think during that period people re-discovered our games. They found they enjoyed playing – and kept playing. And now that things have re-opened, players have stayed with us,” Harville said. “Players say the number one reason why they are now buying tickets is that they’re looking for fun and entertainment. With a range of price points and game styles, and with increased awareness of our internet sales, we have something for everyone.”

Other records broken included:

  • $1.07 billion in prizes awarded, which is $266.2 million or 33.2% more than last year.
  • Payments to retailers of $90.6 million, up $19.6 million or 27.5% from the previous year.

“Those retailer payments were very key to a number of small businesses during the pandemic,” said Kentucky Lottery president and CEO Mary Harville. “We were a steady stream of income to many of them at a time when their business model was turned upside down.”

“The entire board is so pleased at the amazing growth the Lottery exhibited in FY21,” said Board of Directors Chairman Mark F. Sommer. “To continue to set and break records like this in the face of the most challenging of circumstances is nothing short of remarkable. We appreciate and commend the hard and very effective teamwork of our staff and Lottery retailers to make this happen.”

Another accomplishment for the year was Lottery ranked as the 2021 Best Place to Work in Kentucky (medium-size company) by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management.

Sales are expected to remain steady through the upcoming fiscal year. The Lottery’s Board of Directors last month approved the FY22 budget, which calls for $1.59 billion in sales with budgeted income before transfer of dividends of $339.5 million.

“With what we were able to accomplish last year, everybody won,” Harville said. “The Commonwealth and students won thanks to record-breaking proceeds we returned to the state. Our players won through prize levels never seen before, and our retailers won through the largest payments to retailers in our history. We’re on track for a solid performance in the new fiscal year, and look forward to another all-around winning effort.”

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