The PA Lottery just had its second highest grossing year in the lottery’s history. The high sales numbers this year followed close behind last year’s unexpectedly high sales.

According to the PA Lottery’s annual profit report for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022, the lottery generated over $1 billion to fund programs that benefit older residents across the state. This made it the 11th year in a row profits exceeded $1 billion.

PA Lottery Executive Director, Drew Svitko, commented on the year’s success, saying in a press release, “That means Pennsylvania seniors will continue to have access to free and reduced-fare transportation, prescription assistance, free meals, rent and property tax rebates and a host of other programs and services that are funded by the lottery.”

The PA Lottery is one of the top performing lotteries in the US, and the only state lottery that dedicates all its proceeds to fund programs and resources for senior citizens.

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A decline in PA Lottery sales was expected this year

The highest profit year was the previous year, 2020-2021, which saw an unexpected spike in sales that amounted to a 20% sales growth over the year before. Due to the unprecedented boost in sales that year, the lottery expected the next year’s sales to show a small decline.

Generally speaking, sales for this year were right in line with the lottery’s projections. Total sales of traditional games in 2020-2021 hit $5.3 billion, while this year’s sales just topped $5 billion. Overall, sales were down slightly, but some game categories had significant growth.

The largest PA Lottery game categories experienced the biggest declines

Scratch-off tickets continue to bring in the most revenue, making up almost 71% of total sales. This year, scratchers brought in a whopping $3.5 billion. Still, that figure is $244.5 million less than the previous year, marking a 6.5% decline.

The next highest money maker for the lottery also saw a decline in year-over-year sales. Draw games, which include Powerball, Mega Millions, Treasure Hunt, PICK games, and the like, made $48.9 million less than the previous year. The $1.3 billion total (including online sales) was a 3.6% decrease. Draw games make up 25% of total PA Lottery sales.

Still a relatively new revenue generator, online game play at the PA iLottery totaled more than $746.5 million. That’s a decrease of $140.4 million, or 15.8% from the prior fiscal year.

The spike in online sales in the previous year (spurred by more people staying home during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic) was not likely to be followed by another year of sales growth. The lottery expects a return to positive growth next year as the platform matures and more games are added.

Fast Play and Monitor games increase sales

Two game categories actually increased sales this year over the prior year. Sales of Fast Play games, for one, jumped more than $5.2 million, or 3.6%, to achieve total sales of more than $149.1 million.

Another category that saw some growth was Monitor games, which includes Keno and Xpress Sports games. Their sales hit an estimated total of $55.7 million this fiscal year. That number marks an increase of more than $800,000, or 1.5%, from the previous fiscal year.

PA Lottery players, seniors, and retailers all win

Of course, the lottery doesn’t keep all that sales revenue. Prizes for winners and benefits for seniors are the reasons for playing, and that’s where most of the money goes.

Lottery retailers benefit, as well, through small commissions on every ticket sold, and big bonuses when they sell major winners. Commissions for the 10,000 plus licensed lottery retailers statewide came to an estimated $286.4 million. That’s about 7.6% of what the lottery brought in.

The largest portion, over 67%, goes back to players in the form of prizes. About $3.37 billion went to winners of traditional games, and online players won over $655 million.

This leaves a relatively small amount for the lottery to pay operating expenses like marketing, new game development, and employee salaries, plus about $1.2 billion this year to fund essential senior programs.

Here’s how older Pennsylvanians benefit from PA Lottery

The $1.2 billion raised this year will fund a variety of services and programs that help golden-agers live better lives.

The 52 Area Agencies on Aging serve as the backbone for providing everyday services on the local level. The agencies serve seniors in all 67 counties, providing senior centers, home-delivered meals, legal assistance, transportation, and more. They also connect seniors with other assistance they may need.

The PACE and PACENET programs provide low-cost prescription medications. Qualified PA residents 65 or older can get connected by simply asking their pharmacist. Other care services provided include community-wide initiatives, long term in-home care for individuals, and care facilities.

The lottery also provides a variety of transportation options for free or at reduced cost. Fixed-route public transit is free for anyone 65 or older, and commuter rail trips are discounted to $1. Seniors across the state also enjoy on-demand ride share services at a reduced rate.

Lastly, property tax and rent rebates are available for eligible seniors and others through the PA Department of Revenue. Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers 50 and older, along with any adult with a disability, can apply for these benefits.

Funds are distributed based on several factors, including population and community need. Specific funding numbers for the most recent fiscal year are yet to be published. For information on services, including phone numbers and websites, see the PA Lottery’s benefits guide on its website.

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