Lottery narrowly misses all-time record despite pandemic
The Maryland Lottery and the state’s six casinos combined to contribute $1.113 billion to Maryland’s good causes in Fiscal Year 2020, with Lottery profits falling just shy of last year’s record-setting figure in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, the Lottery and casinos support a wide variety of state programs and services.
In March, during the first few weeks of the pandemic, Lottery sales dipped by nearly 30% before bouncing back during the final quarter of the fiscal year, which ended June 30. Sales topped $2 billion for the third consecutive year and were on track to set a new all-time record if not for the pandemic. Lottery profits to the state totaled $588.7 million, down only $4.5 million (-0.8%) from the all-time record established in FY2019. Lottery profits support the Maryland General Fund, which provides budgets for many programs, including education, the environment and public health and safety services.
Maryland’s casinos were closed from March 16 to June 19 due to the pandemic. Since reopening, the casinos have been limited to 50% of their capacity. Casino gaming revenue contributed $524.6 million to the state, supporting education, the communities and jurisdictions where the casinos are located, Maryland’s horse racing industry and responsible gambling initiatives.
The combined total of $1.113 billion in Lottery and casino contributions to the state is a 15.1% decrease from last year’s record of $1.311 billion.
The Agency’s operating expenses remained low at 3.5% of sales on the Lottery side, and 1.4% of total gaming revenues for the casino program.
“When the pandemic began, we were truly in uncharted territory,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica. “But Lottery sales came roaring back, and the casinos worked diligently with us and with public health officials to prepare their reopening plans. We are still adjusting to this ‘new normal’ along with everyone else, and we are proud to continue providing vital funding for Maryland.”
Lottery sales totaled $2.189 billion, down $7 million (-0.3%) from last year’s all-time record of $2.196 billion. For the sixth consecutive year, sales of instant tickets set an all-time record, totaling $852.7 million, a 5% increase from the $812.4 million figure in FY2019.
The Lottery paid $1.361 billion in prizes to players, down just 0.1% from last year’s record-setting total of $1.362 billion. The Lottery paid an average of more than $3.7 million a day in prizes to players during FY2020.
Retailers earned $163.7 million from sales and cashing commissions, a 1.1% decrease from last year’s record-setting total of $165.5 million. On average, Lottery retailers earned more than $37,000 in commissions. The Lottery has 4,349 retail locations across the state.
The Lottery’s twice-daily drawings of Pick 3 and Pick 4 remained extremely popular with players, setting an all-time record with combined sales of $585.4 million, a 4.9% increase from the prior record of $557.8 million established last year. Racetrax, a computer-animated horse racing simulation game, also set an all-time sales record of $230.3 million, increasing 9% from the previous mark of $211.2 million set in FY2019.
With the casinos closed for nearly the entire fourth quarter of FY2020, total gaming revenue was $1.279 billion, down $481 million (-27.3%) from last year’s all-time record of $1.760 billion.
Education Trust Fund (ETF) contributions were $396.8 million, a decrease of $145.9 million (-26.9%) from FY2019. The ETF supports early childhood education, public elementary and secondary education, public school construction and capital improvement projects. Since the state’s first casino opened in 2010, more than $3.4 billion has been contributed to the ETF.
FY2020 casino revenue was also distributed to the following beneficiaries:
- Local aid: $67.5 million, divided between local impact grants and local jurisdictions.
- Maryland’s horse racing industry: $56.4 million, divided between the Racetrack Facility Renewal and Horse Racing Purse Dedication accounts.
- Responsible gambling programs: $3.8 million.