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Indiana residents scratching a serious itch for Hoosier Lottery tickets
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Indiana residents scratching a serious itch for Hoosier Lottery tickets

Scratch game increase

Data released Tuesday by the State Lottery Commission show sales of scratch-off tickets increased 31% between July and October compared to the same four-month period one year earlier.

Hoosiers who enjoy wagering a few bucks from time to time appear to be turning to scratch-off lottery tickets amid the COVID-19 pandemic as an alternative to visiting Indiana casinos.

Data released Tuesday by the State Lottery Commission show sales of scratch-off tickets increased 31% between July and October compared to the same four-month period one year earlier.

Hoosiers spent $423.4 million on scratch tickets during the first third of the state's 2021 budget year. That was 81% of total lottery revenue during the period, according to the commission.

Hoosier Lottery officials attributed the sales growth to expanded availability of self-service machines in grocery stores and other retailers, now including 99 Indiana Walmart stores.

They noted it also continues a trend in scratch-off sales growth that was seen during the first four months of the pandemic.

"We saw a fantastic fourth quarter in fiscal year 2020 that has continued into fiscal year 2021," said Carrie Stroud, Hoosier Lottery chief of staff. "We're thrilled with the results we've seen so far in 2021."

Altogether, the $520.7 million in Hoosier Lottery sales between July and October is $101 million, or 24%, greater than last year, putting the lottery on track to generate $311 million in revenue for the state after deducting prize payments and operating expenses.

In addition to scratch-off tickets, Hoosiers are boosting their purchases of Indiana-based draw games, including Daily 3, Daily 4, Superball and Fastplay, with sales up $6.7 million, or 14%, compared to last year.

Meanwhile, sales are down in the big jackpot draw games — Powerball, MegaMillions and Hoosier Lotto — because the jackpots keep getting hit and the prizes aren't growing to a level that will draw in casual players, said Sarah Taylor, Hoosier Lottery executive director.

The growth in Indiana lottery ticket sales contrasts with a 6.5% year-over-year decline in casino win, or revenue after paying successful bettors, during the same July through October period, according to data maintained by the Indiana Gaming Commission.

On the other hand, Indiana sports betting — which can be done entirely online using a mobile device — hit a new record in October with $231 million in money wagered.

Photos: Across the Midwest, businesses fight to continue during COVID-19

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