Maryland Lottery sales hit record last year of nearly $2 billion

in Lottery

The Maryland Lottery on Tuesday reported setting records for fiscal-year sales — nearly $2 billion — and for prizes paid to players.

Lottery sales of $1.9 billion for the year ending June 30 were buoyed by the continued growth of scratch-offs, also called instant tickets.

Sales of scratch-offs grew by double-digit rates for the third straight year, totaling $676.8 million — a 10.7 percent increase over the 2016 fiscal year. The tickets are called “instant” because players can find out immediately if they won.

“Growing instant ticket sales has been one of the Lottery’s top priorities,” Lottery director Gordon Medenica said in a written statement. “We’re enthusiastic about the direction we’re headed, and we believe there is still untapped revenue potential with scratch-offs.”

But Lottery’s profits fell 8.5 percent to $524.9 million — partly the result of players’ good fortune.

The Lottery said in a news release that it was “an unusually lucky year for players of Pick 4, which saw a decrease of $35 million in profits.”

In addition, Powerball game sales in the state — which hit a record $143.5 million in 2016 — fell to $100.1 million in the 2017.fiscal year.

Powerball’s popularity the year before stemmed from a $1.6 billion jackpot, its largest ever. The jackpot, shared by players in Tennessee, Florida and California, caught the nation's attention and reversed the game's fortunes.