Hoosier Lottery Celebrates Reaching $6 Billion In Total Revenue

Posted on March 8, 2021 - Last Updated on March 5, 2021

The Hoosier Lottery has created over $6 billion worth of revenue for the state of Indiana.

That’s an incredible return that has continued to snowball since the lottery’s start back in 1989.

Sarah Taylor, the executive director of the Hoosier Lottery, recently thanked lottery players around the state for the growth.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 30 years since that first Scratch-off ticket was sold. We’re so proud of the more than $6 billion the Hoosier Lottery has given back to Indiana over the last 30 years, including money to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund and to local police and firefighter pensions. None of this is possible without the support of our players and retailers across the state. We’re very thankful.”

Scratch-off tickets providing big sales numbers

A big part of the lottery’s growth has been scratch-off ticket sales, which are soaring in Indiana.

Hoosiers bought over $1 billion worth of scratch-offs during the lottery’s fiscal year 2020.

The Hoosier Lottery starts its budget years in the middle of the summer, so Indiana has been in fiscal year 2021 since last July.

The current budget year is already on track to smash the previous set of numbers.

Scratch off sales rose 31% during the first-third of the budget year to hit the $423 million mark.

That was largely thanks to the pandemic and the rise of self-service machines.

Playing the lottery in Indiana became the state’s only gambling option when major sports leagues shut down and casinos closed.

Even after things reopened, being able to buy tickets using self-service kiosks in grocery stores gave Hoosiers a gambling option that didn’t involve gathering in large public crowds.

That also led to a boom in draw game sales during the first-third of the budget year. Sales increased by over $100 million during that four month stretch alone.

Those strong sales numbers have led to new revenue records for the Hoosier Lottery.

Hoosier Lottery revenue booming

We don’t have the full picture yet for the entire budget year, but the State Lottery Commission did release some interesting numbers at its latest meeting.

So far, the Hoosier Lottery is racking up record revenue numbers across the board.

The data covers the first seven months of the budget year, which ran from July 2020-January 2021.

Lottery revenue increased by over 27% during that seven-month stretch, compared to the same timeframe in the previous budget year. In terms of dollars, that 27% boost accounted for $210 million of new revenue.

Once again, scratch-off sales are leading the charge.

The Hoosier Lottery’s $169 million worth of scratch-off revenue during that same stretch is a 29% increase from the previous year.

Holiday games helped send those numbers over the top.

The Hoosier Lottery runs special scratch-off promotions during the holiday season, and 2020’s winter months once again set new a record.

The “$10 Holiday Game” scratch-off returned in 2020, and managed to rack up the best sales numbers ever for a $10 Indiana game in its first 13 weeks. Overall, holiday game sales increased by 8%.

The Hoosier Lottery also crossed $1 billion in sales on Feb. 8, which is a new record for the earliest date to hit that milestone.

Since the Hoosier Lottery is seeing record revenues, that also means more tax money is going to the state.

That first seven month stretch of the budget year produced an extra $46 million in surplus revenue for Indiana compared to the previous year.

Where does Hoosier Lottery tax money go?

The Hoosier Lottery’s record numbers are producing a ton of tax money.

Indiana is happy to have the extra gambling tax income, but what does that state spend it on?

A big chunk of the money flows towards the pensions of local firefighters and police officers. Another large piece of the pie goes towards the Teachers’ Retirement Fund.

During 2020’s budget year, the Hoosier Lottery contributed $30 million to both of those areas.

After paying out lottery winners and staff salaries, the vast majority of the Hoosier Lottery’s revenue goes towards replacing vehicle excise taxes.

It’s largely thanks to a decision that the state legislature made back in the 1990s.

Lawmakers decided to slash the Vehicle Excise Tax at the time, which helps decide how much registration fees will cost for your car in Indiana. Ever since then, lottery tax money has been spent to make up the difference from the excise tax cut.

Indiana spent over $236 million on Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Replacement during 2018 alone.

When the cost of vehicle registration is low, that helps Hoosiers all around the state. After all, owning a car is basically essential in the Crossroads of America, so keeping costs low is a priority for the state.

The rest of the lottery tax revenue gets diced up and spent on a handful of other things, such as education programs around the state.

If the Hoosier Lottery’s revenue keeps breaking records, more tax money than ever before will continue pouring into Indiana’s budget.

Photo by Associated Press
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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