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Oklahoma Lottery: Boon or bust?

Overall Oklahoma Lottery revenue is basically flat over the eight years the lottery has been in existence, and scratch-off ticket sales have suffered a steady decline for three years, an analysis of the lottery's financial data shows.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: January 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: January 13, 2014

Oklahoma's lottery isn't hitting the jackpot.

Total revenue is basically flat since the state's lottery began in 2005, and sales of instant tickets, or scratchers, have steadily declined over the past three years, according to financial information provided by the Oklahoma Lottery Commission.

Scratcher sales were highest in the first year of the lottery, generating $111.3 million in fiscal year 2006. Instant tickets generated a low of $77.9 million in 2009; sales rose to $103 million in 2011 but had dipped to $89.4 million last year, lottery data shows.

Record Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots, like those in 2012 and 2013, offer a short-lived boost to scratcher sales, but the overall trend is down.

Rollo Redburn, executive director of the Lottery Commission, said scratcher sales are expected to continue to decline because payouts are being reduced to meet a 35 percent minimum profit requirement set by the Legislature.

“We expect instant sales to continue to decline as payouts eventually will have to be reduced again,” Redburn said, adding that the minimum profit requirement is also the reason Oklahoma can't offer $10 or $20 scratch-off tickets, which deliver higher prizes.

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