Ohio 2020 Lottery Sales up 15%, Casinos down 24%, VLTs down 35%

The Ohio Lottery Commission reported its 2020 annual financial figures posting double digit growth in sales during a year marred with an infectious virus outbreak and months of accompanying restrictions.

Lottery Sales Booming

Total sales in 2020 generated in excess of $3.8 billion, 15% more than the $3.3 billion the lottery managed to gobble from residents in Ohio during 2019, topped by sales from scratch-off tickets, which accounted for 84% of the $500 million total nominal increase year-over-year, around $426 million.

The growth in sales means the state-run lottery would be able to allocate more to school funding, as nearly 25% of the proceeds go to the Lottery Profits Education Fund, but the exact amount would be known by the end of the fiscal 2020 year in June.

According to lottery spokeswoman Danielle Frizzi-Babb, record numbers for the lottery were powered by the rise in scratch-off ticket activities witnessed during the first half of the year, which continued during the second half. Her words were confirmed by Director Pat McDonald in a statement the lottery released.

“People have been limited in their entertainment options for the last ten months, and lottery games proved to be a fun socially distanced form of entertainment.”

Pat McDonald, Director, Ohio Lottery

Casinos and Racinos Suffering

But while the lottery had been thriving, state casinos and racinos were feeling the pain from the virus outbreak and subsequent restrictions, the report from the Ohio Casino Control Commission showed, posting total revenues for the industry of $643 million, down 24% from the $851 million in revenues generated by casinos in 2019.

Following the closures imposed on land-based gaming facilities in mid-March, the Ohio casinos and racinos remained closed throughout mid-June, generating 2 months, April and May, with zero casino revenue in the report.

The 11 state’s brick-and-mortar gambling facilities managed to generate an all-time record in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in October, up with 6.7% compared to the same month in 2019, yet that was not enough to offset the damage done earlier in the year.

Curfews the state implemented as part of its coronavirus response from November onwards barred casinos from operating around the clock and continued to impact on their revenue levels.

VLTs Impacted Most

Video lottery terminals (VLTs) operated at the state’s seven horse racetracks posted a 35% slump in revenues for the calendar year, the Ohio Lottery Commission reported. Total number of credits played dropped from more than $12 billion in 2019 to just $7.8 billion.

65% of lottery and racino machine sales are returned back to players in the form of prize pools, 25% are allocated to schools, and the rest 10% cover commissions to retailers, between 6 % and 7%, while 4% go towards the cost of the lottery commission operations.

Casino revenues provide 34% to public school districts on the basis of enrollment numbers, while 51% go to the counties on a per-capita basis.

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