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Even in bad times, lottery is good

Jan 14, 2009 8:03 PM
Staff & Wire Reports |

Despite a downturn in casino revenues throughout the country, statewide lotteries defy the odds – and the impact of the recession – with increased lottery sales.

According to a report released this week, more than half the states with lottery systems report they’ve had an increase in sales within the last six months.

One of those states is New York, where sales of lottery tickets and scratch-offs are up 2 percent with a quarter still to go in the fiscal year.

New York Lottery officials say one factor driving up sales is the chance to win a mega-million dollar jackpot, even though the odds of hitting are astronomical.

"Regular customers will buy $200, $300 in lottery tickets in one sitting and then come back," said Patty Angora, who sells lottery tickets. "Or they’ll go to their car and play it and then come back."

In New York, the chance to hit it big has also fueled video gaming, the newest and fastest growing segment of the lottery market. After just five years, it’s already an $875 million business, up 8.2 percent from last year.