Lottery Proves Pandemic-Proof as Profits Smash Annual Records in Pennsylvania and North Carolina

  • The PA Lottery posted a record annual profit of over $1.3bn from ticket sales of $5.3bn
  • The NC Education Lottery made best-ever annual profits of $936m from ticket sales of $3.8bn
  • The PA Lottery exceeded the $1bn mark for its senior programs funding for the tenth year running
  • A research firm said it expects the US lottery market to grow by $20.62bn during 2020-2024
Pennsylvania Lottery ticket stand inside a shop
Profits from state lotteries in Pennsylvania and North Carolina for the pandemic-ridden 2020-21 fiscal year have smashed previous records. [Image:]

Record highs for 2020-21 fiscal year

You just can’t keep a good prospect down. Despite, or because of the pandemic, lottery profits in Pennsylvania and North Carolina for 2020-21 have broken records.

Pennsylvania Lottery was the biggest hitter of the two

The Pennsylvania Lottery was the biggest hitter of the two, with its officials announcing Monday a record profit of over $1.3bn for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Its southern counterpart, the North Carolina Education Lottery, joined the party with best-ever annual game profits of $936m.

For Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the profits provided a welcome injection of funds for their respective senior citizen and education programs through a COVID-19 ravaged year.

According to its website, the PA Lottery is the only state lottery “that designates all of its proceeds to programs that benefit older residents”. The lottery states that it has contributed over $31bn to programs ranging from meals and transportation, to care services and senior centers. According to an Associated Press report, money from the NC Education Lottery went to “public school construction, college scholarships and grants, the state’s prekindergarten program and for K-12 schools to pay for school workers and transportation.”

2021 ticket sales for the PA Lottery, which include scratch-offs, Powerball, and Mega Millions, reached an all-time high of $5.3bn. Online-play sales posted a figure of $887m. Ticket sales for the NC Education Lottery increased 26% on the previous year to $3.8bn, an official news release revealed.

Lotteries pack a pandemic-proof punch

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 currently ripping through the US and causing Las Vegas all sorts of mischief, both the PA and NC lotteries will at least feel somewhat pandemic-proof following their record profits.

The PA Lottery recorded its tenth year in a row that it exceeded the $1bn mark for senior programs. Executive director Drew Svitko said the lottery body was “extremely proud [it] kept funds flowing to programs that benefit older Pennsylvanians during a year when many sorely needed this assistance.”

Svitko’s NC Education Lottery counterpart, Mark Michalko, said North Carolinians turned to lottery games in response to a void in the entertainment option space during the pandemic. He added that players discovered “lots of ways to have fun,” including a new combined instant prize, a progressive jackpot game, and other “major life-changing” jackpot games.

The NC Education Lottery took to Twitter on August 2 in a timely example of what a life-altering win might look like, after longshoreman Wayne Harris of Brunswick County struck lucky with a $2m Powerball ticket:

Michalko said the lottery’s success despite “multiple challenges during these unusual times” was a combination of player loyalty, support from retailers, and a “tremendous effort” from employees.

Outlook peachy for US lotteries

Global technology research and advisory company Technavio on July 28 shared a news release that offers lotteries across the US even more of a feel-good outlook for the future. Technavio reckons that the US lottery market is “poised to grow” by $20.62bn during 2020-2024.

US lottery market is “poised to grow” by $20.62bn

In addition, under its Lottery Market in US 2020-2024: Scope study, Technavio points to the “high penetration of smartphones” as one of the prime drivers of US lottery market growth over the coming years.

For Wayne Harris — who bought his $2m winning ticket from the Circle K store on North Howe Street in Southport, North Carolina — moving over to online lottery play might not be such a pressing priority right now.

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