According to information released by the New York State Gaming Commission on Monday, in spite of diminished interest at the horse track, wagers worth an estimated $9.7 billion were recorded for the financial year ending March 31. Currently, all slots and electronic table gaming in the state outside of tribal casinos is done over lottery terminals, rather than actual Vegas style gaming machines.
The record-high wagers benefited public schools by $3.3 billion, but while the surge is impressive, it won’t last, according to University of Mississippi Professor Thomas Garrett, who previously worked as a Federal Reserve economist and state lotteries has been an area of study, according to the Union-Sun & Journal. The report released on Monday showed that of the $7.7 billion in traditional lottery game sales, scratch-off-tickets are involved in half. Garrett said the appeal of scratch tickets can be attributed to the fact that people don’t have to wait days to get the results; instead, they see instant gratification.
Sales totaling $911 million were attributed to the Win 4 lottery game; $902 million was spent on the Numbers game; $787 million was collected by Quick Draw, and drawings for Mega Millions were at $254 million. As for Lottery sales, nine of the state’s harness tracks which have video terminals contributed close to $2 billion in sales, not including payouts to winners, according to the report. In addition to aid to public schools, retailers also benefited from the hike in Lottery sales, with the six percent commission on sales they receive netting them $464 million; $30 more than the previous year, according to the state report (pdf).
While Lottery game sales were up, horse racing handle at betting parlors and tracks slipped by approximately $96 million from the year past, with the prior year’s almost $96 million also less than 2011, 2012 and 2013’s numbers. Earlier this month, the New York Lottery debuted a new scratch-off ticket that gives players a choice to either scratch off the ticket in the traditional manner or to scan via a mobile application to learn if they’ve won a prize. It remains to be seen what, if any effect, the new app will have on ticket sales.
Meanwhile, the current hike comes at a time when the state is hoping to see revenue from gambling continue to grow with the opening of the del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County; Montreign Resort Casino in Sullivan County; and the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady. According to an announcement by Governor Cuomo this month, despite being under construction, the new casinos have already begun to benefit their respective communicates by way of payment of their licensing fees totaling $151 million.
Between the upstate casinos, which are all expected to open in 2017 or 2018, the state casino siting board considering a fourth operator, Tioga Downs Casino, and current gambling expansion in neighboring Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, some speculate whether revenue from the Lottery will continue to hold up.