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Mass. State Lottery notches record year after faltering during pandemic

Customers scan losing lottery tickets at Coney Market, which has been besieged by gold diggers since January.
Customers scan losing lottery tickets at Coney Market, which has been besieged by gold diggers since January.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

The Massachusetts State Lottery netted the highest profit in its 50-year history in fiscal year 2021, as it bounced back from the year prior when earnings were slowed down by the pandemic.

The lottery reeled in $1.105 billion in net profit between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, eclipsing the previous record of $1.104 billion in fiscal year 2019, lottery officials said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Despite the pandemic, this year the Lottery experienced record setting sales,” State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who chairs the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, said in the statement.

The lottery beat out previous revenue records as well — the lottery raked in $5.827 billion, up from the previous high of $5.509 billion in revenue set in fiscal year 2019.

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Those earnings are notedly up from totals recorded in fiscal year 2020 — $986.9 million in profit and total revenues of $5.258 billion — when sales fell during the early months of the pandemic.

The record earnings come in a year marked by fluctuating COVID-19 cases and safety restrictions before the eventual reopening of the Massachusetts and US economies.

“The Lottery proved to be a safe form of entertainment and an important source of revenue for small businesses while contributing a record amount of support to cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” Michael Sweeney, the executive director of the Lottery, said in the statement.

Keno, a game popular at Massachusetts restaurants and bars, saw sales surge past previous records, too. The lottery recorded $1.057 billion in Keno sales, up eight percent from fiscal year 2020.

An estimated $4.283 billion was paid out in prizes to players this year. Of those prizes, 208 were valued at $1 million or more, and 38 were valued at $2 million or more.

At $4.03 billion, instant ticket sales edged out the record of $3.673 billion set in fiscal year 2019. Lottery retailers pulled in $333.3 million in commissions and bonuses.

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Mega Millions and Powerball sales were up a combined total of more than $60 million from last year, in part, the statement said, because of drawings for huge jackpots that topped $1 billion and $730 million.



Andrew Brinker can be reached at andrew.brinker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewnbrinker.