Wednesday, July 04, 2001

Ohio Lottery income down; competition cited

By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Profits from the Ohio Lottery fell for the fourth straight year and sales dropped 10 percent despite the addition of a new game last year.

        The Ohio Lottery attributed the declines to competition from unregulated instant-bingo parlors within the state and casinos and lotteries in neighboring states.

        The lottery earned $637 million in fiscal 2001, which ended Saturday, a $49 million decline from a year ago. Profits from the lottery peaked in 1997, with $749 million going to education.

        “We did not anticipate as big a drop this year as we saw,” said Paul Marshall, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education.

        By law, lottery profits must be forwarded to the education department, where the money makes up 6 percent of the budget.

        The slide in profits is expected to continue, and that was factored into the department's budget for the next two years, Mr. Marshall said.

        The department based its budget for fiscal 2002, which began Sunday, on an estimated lottery intake of $633 million. Estimates for the following fiscal year are a bit smaller, Mr. Marshall said.

        During fiscal year 2001, sales also dropped 10.4 percent from a year ago, when they had increased slightly.

        The Ohio Lottery sold $1.92 billion worth of tickets in fiscal 2001, compared with $2.15 billion last year and $2.145 billion the year before that.


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