Hoosier Lotto suffers as players seek big jackpots, instant gratificationJune 6th, 2014 at 2:52 pm by Jim Shella under Jim Shella's Political Blog
If you play Hoosier Lotto, the state’s signature lottery game, you may have noticed some big changes in the jackpot. It’s not growing as fast as it used to.
It’s because of a drop in sales. Sales are off by 25% over the last two years as lottery players are turning to more popular games.
At Buck’s Supermarket on the south side they sell a lot of lottery tickets and Robin Coffey is in line to buy Hoosier Lotto tickets twice a week. “I play every drawing day,” she said.
But others are not so loyal. Store manager Cathy Murphy points to a trend in Hoosier Lotto ticket sales. “They’ve slowed down,” she said. “I think it’s the payout coming back to the customer, not enough coming back.”
In fact the jackpots that used to grow by a million dollars a week now grow by half that when there is no winner. It’s a change made last month.
It could lead to even lower sales but at Hoosier Lottery headquarters there is no panic.
“Overall, the Hoosier Lottery sales are the highest they’ve ever been this year,” says Carrie Stroud, the Director of Internal Controls at the lottery.
In fact, at the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, sales are expected to exceed a billion dollars for the first time.
John Ketzenberger of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute says it’s the result of other changes in the way the lottery does business.
“In 2012 they spent about $10 million on advertising,” he said. “In 2013 they spent about $20 million on advertising, so they’ve really upped their game.”
And while bigger jackpots mean that Powerball and Mega Millions are still going strong, scratch off tickets now make up the majority of sales. “Instant gratification is what they want,” said Cathy Murphy.
But Hoosier Lotto still has a loyal following. “If you hit, ya hit,” said Robin Coffey. “It’s your turn to hit.”
And there are no plans to eliminate it.
Hoosier Lotto makes up about 5% of overall sales for the Hoosier Lottery. About 25% of the money generated by lottery sales goes to state government.
This year that will translate to about $240 million.