The state of California reached a milestone during the end of the fiscal year on June 30th by grossing the most amount of money in lottery sales in its history.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that the California Lottery earned more than $5.5 billion last fiscal year, which was more than 10% higher than its previous year’s earnings of $5.03 billion. Interestingly, the majority of its sales this year came from various scratch-off tickets. Californians bought more than $3.9 billion in scratch-offs last fiscal year.
Bobby Lee, the manager of Sam’s Liquor in South El Monte, believes the spike in scratch-off sales is due to the more expensive $20 tickets that offer jackpots as high as $5 million. These tickets were first introduced in September 2013.
“They’re getting popular,” Lee said.
The high rewards appear to be an underlying motivation. A man from West Covina, for example, won $1 million after buying a $20 “Million $$ Match” ticket at a Chevron Station.
In Tarzana, several customers of Spirits World got lucky over the past two weeks. Last weekend, $500 worth of lottery money was collected by its customers; $500 more last week; and $5,000 the week before that.
Spirits World’s manager Mousa Chehada is more than pleased with the ticket sales, perhaps due to the 0.5% of the prize money he collects from every winning ticket sold at his store.
“We are a lucky store; I’m the lucky guy,” Chehada said. “Just hoping to sell the ‘Big One’ soon.”
Khandoker Susana, the owner of the Bi-Way Market in Long Beach, also considers herself lucky.
“A lot of people win here,” Susana said. “It’s good business. Customers come in and buy other items when they get [lotto tickets]. We’ve got a lot of regulars.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the California lottery is expected to generate approximately $1.3 billion for its public schools this year, which is about 2% of the state’s current school budget. In addition, most lotto winnings are subject to state, local, and federal taxes that withhold up to 25% of the total winnings.