INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Hoosier Lottery is seeing record sales and sending more money than ever to Indiana’s tax reserves.
Data shows that the lottery, in its 30th year, paid about $859 million last year in prizes — an increase from $797 million in 2017.
Based on sales, players collected about 64% in fiscal year 2019.
Sarah Taylor, executive director of the Hoosier Lottery, said the lottery has met its goal as the payout percentage has remained steady in recent years.
“We are also trying to do better with winner awareness. As sales increase, so goes the winning opportunities to our players, so it's important for us to message,” she said.
But its payouts to players has not changed much even as sales jumped from about $1 billion in 2015 to $1.34 billion last year, The Journal Gazette reported.
Over the life of the lottery, almost $14 billion has gone to winners and $6 billion to the state to reduce license plate fees and aid teacher and police and fire pensions.
As it continues racking up more sales, people such as Fort Wayne Glenn Turney, 42, question whether players are getting their money’s worth.
“It seems there isn't as much bang for your buck as there used to be,” said Turney, who has played about 10 years and recently pulled back from buying as many scratch tickets as he did.
Turney isn't the only one dissatisfied.
“Seems like the scratchers went to hell in the last two years or so. It's not any fun to buy $10 or $20 or higher and not get anything so I stopped and put my wagering on sports betting and horses,” said Roger Caine, who lives in Indianapolis. He has been playing in Indiana’s lottery since it began.
“As soon as sports betting came online, I have had much more success on that,” he said.
In September, Indiana joined a list of states that legalized sports betting after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Decision. So, it's not just the Hoosier Lottery that could be impacted.
“It's too early to tell quite frankly,” Sarah Taylor said. “We are monitoring it. Lotteries are all kind of keeping an eye on it.”
She added that sales have dipped this year due to not having a major Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot like last fall.
IGT Indiana, which largely runs the state lottery, is studying the effectiveness of online games.