Losing The Lotto: Where The Revenue Comes From

New Hampshire Lottery Commission

The New Hampshire Lottery has struggled with declining revenues over the past few years.

As we reported yesterday, New Hampshire’s lottery revenues have been steadily declining over the past five fiscal years.  Since the lotto funds the state’s education system, lower sales translate into less money for schools.  (You can read our first post here.)

Still, the lottery isn’t exactly generating chump change.  In FY 2011, the education system raked in $62.2 million.  It’s big money.  Just not as big as it could be.

So we wanted to know, what’s driving lotto sales?

(If you’ve ever worked at a gas station, grocery store, or other lottery retailer, you probably already know the answer…)

Using data provided by the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, we created the chart below:

Matt Stiles / NPR

This chart shows the sales of various lottery games from FY 2002-FY 2011

Instant games–scratch tickets, basically–have made up, and continue to make up, the overwhelming majority of lottery sales.  Although they’ve declined since FY 2006-2007, scratch ticket sales haven’t fallen to FY 2002 levels.

According to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Powerball sales tend to be an unreliable source of revenue.  That’s because they rise dramatically when the jackpot gets up into the hundreds of millions of dollars…and then fall back to earth once someone wins and the jackpot is back down in the tens-of-millions range.  Interestingly, after years of flat sales, Tri-State games between New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, have begun picking up in popularity over the past couple of years.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »