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Mega Millions Paces Maryland Lottery to Record Year

The Maryland Lottery reported its 15th consecutive year of sales growth, helped along by interest from the $656 million jackpot in March.

A record-setting Mega Millions jackpot helped pace the Maryland Lottery to a record of its own, with the agency reporting a 4.7 percent increase in sales over the previous fiscal year.

The lottery said Monday that figures from fiscal year 2012 showed the 15th consecutive year of sales growth, despite greater competition from casinos and a dearth of new retail outlets.

The lottery generated $1.795 billion in sales during fiscal year 2012, up $80.4 million from the year prior. Those sales translated into $556 million into Maryland’s general fund and $1.066 billion in prizes awarded to players.

Interest in the Maryland Lottery was high earlier this year, when the jackpot for the national Mega Millions game reached a record $656 million in March. A , resulting in heavy media coverage and sustained interest.

“Every state obviously benefited from that, probably more so in Maryland than anywhere else, because we obviously sold one of the winning tickets,” said Maryland Lottery Executive Director Stephen Martino, in an interview with Patch. “We had more media coverage about it than everyone else combined. It did increase the notoriety of the lottery and put it front and center in people's minds. We were able to capitalize on that event well.”

In addition, a Montgomery County shop sold a top-tier prize to a 67-year-old Silver Spring man earlier this month. He purchased a $100,000 winning ticket from on Sligo Avenue, according to the Maryland Lottery. 

But Martino said the lottery probably would have seen a record for sales anyway, based on how things were trending prior to the big Mega Millions payday.

Lottery revenue is reported separately from the revenue generated by casinos in the state. Last month, the Maryland Lottery , with $28 million coming from the new Maryland Live! casino.

Martino said he has not seen any evidence that growth in casinos is cannibalizing the sale of lottery tickets.

“When the casinos started getting up and going, there was some concern there would be some reduction in lottery sales and revenue, essentially that the casinos were going to cannibalize what we were doing on the traditional side,” he said. “Clearly, that hasn’t been the case yet.”

Martino also said the growth comes as the number of retailers selling lottery tickets has been flat. A sluggish economy has forced the closure of some stores, but the lottery has managed to increase sales anyway.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker recently announced his support for a proposed $1 billion . If approved, officials say the casino could mean $200 million for the state that would be directed to schools and property tax relief. 

After-jackpot proceeds from lottery tickets are deposited in Maryland's general fund, but intended for education, public health, and public safety programs.

Alexandra Scarfone contributed to this report.

Jim Burnetti July 23, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Fix our schools. Governor O'Malley. This indicates our Maryland schools are doing a bad job of teaching math and probability.

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