Another State Lottery Exceeds Expectations
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
Stateline reported last month on the surprising success of the Arkansas lottery, which sold its first ticket last September and has since exceeded daily revenue projections by 40 percent. The unexpected sales have come as a boon to a state scholarship program that depends on the lottery for financing.
While some states have seen declines in gambling revenues as the economy has soured, there are exceptions. Pennsylvania, for example, has seen a surge in gambling revenue — even surpassing Nevada as the nation's leader in casino tax collections in fiscal 2009, according to a recent account by The Associated Press. The state recently stepped up its hunt for gaming revenues by opening table games , such as blackjack and roulette.
Now comes word that Pennsylvania's neighbor, New Jersey, is having Arkansas-like success with its own state lottery. New Jersey raised more money from its lottery last fiscal year than ever before in its 40-year history, The Press of Atlantic City reported .
All told, $2.6 billion flowed into the state's coffers from the lottery. About $920 million of those funds went toward supporting public programs, including community colleges and school nutrition, according to The Press .
The paper noted that there doesn't appear to be any predictable pattern of which state lotteries do well in tough times and which do not. Lotteries in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, for example, have seen lottery revenues drop, while those in Kentucky and North Carolina saw "significant increases."