Pennsylvania Lottery on track to break revenue record: Drew Svitko
The Pennsylvania Lottery is on track to set a new revenue record by breaking its all-time sales record of $4.5 billion, the state’s lottery executive director Drew Svitko said. Mr. Svitko appeared before the state House Appropriations Committee earlier this week, and said that the state lottery would easily be able to break its all-time sales record that it set in 2018-19 by selling $4.5 billion in game tickets. He predicted that lottery sales in FY20-21 would likely be “north of” $5 billion. It means that Pennsylvania Lottery’s revenue could settle near about $5.1 billion this fiscal year.
According to the state lottery boss, the sales were being boosted by the state’s online games that continued to fare well during and after the COVID-19 pandemic as the deadly disease prompted many players to go online to test their luck. Retail ticket scratch-off sales also remained strong throughout year 2020. He pointed to the fact many lottery retailers, including grocery and convenience stores, continued to work even during the pandemic. It may be noted here that grocery and convenience stores were allowed to remain open during the pandemic as they were considered essential businesses.
In spite of adding gaming offerings, the state lottery continued to see a considerable increase in revenue. However, Svitko expressed his concern about unregulated ‘skill gaming machines,’ which have been thriving in restaurants, bars and convenience stores. As per Svitko’s estimates, roughly 30 per cent of lottery retailers now have at least one skill gaming terminal.
Speaking on the topic, he said, “I think the increase of gaming in the marketplace is dangerous and risky and harmful in the long run to us and our mission of generating money for those important programs.”
The gaming industry of Pennsylvania has grown at an unprecedented rate in recent years. In 2017, the state legislature and Governor Tom Wolf passed a measure to expand gaming. That measure authorized around a dozen Category 4 satellite casinos, although merely five such gaming licenses were awarded by the state’s gaming authorities. The state additionally legalized sports betting, online gambling, fantasy sports, and video gaming terminals (VGTs).
Launched in 1971, Pennsylvania Lottery generated a profit of $1.14 billion during the FY19-20. Now, Pennsylvania is the country’s No. 2 gaming state in terms of revenue. Only Nevada generates more gaming revenue than the Keystone State.
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