TRENTON — State officials say sales of lottery tickets and the resulting revenues for the New Jersey budget climbed by 1 percent last fiscal year to record levels.
The New Jersey Lottery sold nearly $2.64 billion in tickets last year, $31 million more than a year earlier, show data released Friday. It paid out $1.54 billion in prizes and gave $930 million to the state budget to support education and institutions. The rest goes to sales commissions and other overhead.
“These fiscal year 2011 revenues are a new record in lottery contributions, and a welcome one,” said state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, whose department includes the Division of Lottery.
Even better performance is being relied upon for the year ahead.
The state budget projects that its lottery revenue will increase by $100 million, which would be the largest percentage gain in a quarter-century. It took four years to add the last $100 million in lottery revenue for the state.
In the first two months of the fiscal year, lottery revenues were running 1.2 percent ahead of last year. The budget projects 10.8 percent growth in lottery proceeds, which hasn’t been achieved since 1987.
Sales of instant scratch-off games reached a new high, $1.36 billion, accounting for an all-time high of 52 percent of sales.
Though instant game prizes are smaller, players are more likely to win than through drawing games. The state paid out 66 percent of revenue from instant games as prizes, compared with roughly half for drawings.
Sales of tickets for multistate, large-jackpot games fell by 4 percent in the first full year of participation in both Powerball and Mega Millions. The state sold $230 million in Mega Millions tickets and $133 million for Powerball.
The Pick 6 Lotto, which sold more than $300 million in tickets before New Jersey joined the multi-state games, experienced another 16 percent decline in sales and fell to $68.5 million.
Ticket sales for Pick 3, Pick 4 and Jersey Cash 5 were more or less flat, combining for $840 million compared with $843 million a year earlier.
The New Jersey Lottery began in early 1971. It surpassed $50 billion in sales last year, topping $51.5 billion through the end of June.
More than $38 million in prizes were forfeited to the state last year. Nearly $700 million in prizes have been lost that way over the past 40 years.
An Associated Press Member Exchange story.