Indiana expects to collect less money from the state lottery this fiscal year than it budgeted for. But the projected shortfall isn’t as bad as some state officials feared.
IGT Indiana is the private company that runs the lottery for the state. General manager Melissa Pursley says it’s hard to estimate the effect COVID-19 is having.
“It is evident that COVID-19 will have an impact on the Hoosier Lottery’s business, including sales performance and net income return to the state," Pursley says. "But what’s less clear is how long that impact will last.”
Yet the lottery had its best sales month ever in April. And while projections say the state won’t get as much money at the end of the fiscal year as planned, it’s only about $10 million less than expected.
The budget projected $304 million for the state this year; the expectation is now $294.7 million. The state collected $312 million in lottery revenue last year.
Lottery Commission member David Redden says he’s surprised.
“Even though it’s a shortfall, it could be a lot worse,” Redden says.
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The most direct source of the anticipated shortfall is big jackpot games: Powerball, Mega Millions and the Hoosier Lottery. All of them have fallen short of predicted levels through April 30, collectively 26 percent less than projected.
Scratch-off sales, though, are doing even better than expected. Scratch-offs are the biggest source of lottery revenue and those games have sold more through April than even pre-COVID projections anticipated.
The lottery will likely report its final revenue numbers in August.