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April Numbers Show Continued Decline In Mass. Lottery Sales

Weekly Massachusetts Lottery sales were down about 33% in mid-April compared to the beginning of March and the Lottery is trailing last year's estimated profit pace by more than $73 million.

Executive Director Michael Sweeney walked the Lottery Commission through the agency's latest sales and revenue report during a meeting Tuesday. His report showed that sales of all Lottery products totaled $74,945,802 for the week that ended April 18. That's down from $111,613,814 in total sales the first week of March.

More complete data on April will not be available until May's Lottery Commission meeting, but Sweeney told commissioners that overall sales were down $59.5 million or 13.3% compared to March 2019. Through three-quarters of the fiscal year, the Lottery's sales are running $66.9 million or 1.6% behind last fiscal year's pace. The Lottery has, so far this fiscal year, generated $766.8 million in profit — that's lagging last year's profit generation pace by $73.3 million.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant bite out of Lottery sales as restaurants and bars are closed and fewer people make regular trips to their local convenience store, shrinking the market for the cash-only products.

The Lottery's declines have "dramatically exposed the limitations and vulnerabilities of the Lottery's all-cash, in-person business model," Treasurer Deborah Goldberg told lawmakers this month at a budget hearing.

"The ability to process cashless payments and to sell our products online would have undoubtedly helped to mitigate our losses," the treasurer said at the hearing, echoing a call that the Legislature has appeared cool to for years.

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