Hoosier Lotto suffers as players look for instant gratification

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you play Hoosier Lotto, the state’s online lottery game, you may have noticed some big changes in the jackpot. It’s not as growing as fast as it used to.

It’s because of a drop in sales. Sales are off by 25 percent over the last two years as lottery players are turning to more popular games.

At Buck’s Supermarket on the south side they sell a lot of lottery tickets.

“I play every drawing day,” said Robin Coffey, who buys tickets from Buck’s twice a week.

But others are not so loyal. Store manager Cathy Murphy points to a trend in Hoosier Lotto ticket sales.

“They’ve slowed down,” she said. “I think it’s the payout coming back to the customer, not enough coming back.”

In fact the jackpots that used to grow by $1 million per week now grow by half that when there is no winner. It’s a change made last month. It could lead to even lower sales but at Hoosier Lottery headquarters there is no panic.

“Overall, the Hoosier Lottery sales are the highest they’ve ever been this year,” says Carrie Stroud, the director of Internal Controls at the lottery.

At the end of the fiscal year on June 30, sales are expected to exceed $1 billion for the first time. John Ketzenberger of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute says it’s the result of other changes in the way the lottery does business.

“In 2012 they spent about $10 million on advertising,” he said. “In 2013 they spent about $20 million on advertising, so they’ve really upped their game.”

And while bigger jackpots mean that Powerball and Mega Millions are still going strong, scratch off tickets now make up the majority of sales.

“Instant gratification is what they want,” said Cathy Murphy.

But Hoosier Lotto still has a loyal following. And there are no plans to eliminate it.

Hoosier Lotto makes up about 5 percent of overall sales for the Hoosier Lottery. About 25 percent of the money generated by lottery sales goes to state government. This year that will translate to about $240 million.

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