Colorado Lottery Hits Second-Highest Revenue Total In History

Written By Ian St. Clair on 08/24/2020 - Last Updated on September 10, 2020

The Colorado Lottery hit the jackpot.

Usually that’s the case for people who play the lottery. But for the fiscal year 2020, there’s no better analogy.

According to the Colorado Lottery, it closed the fiscal year with its second-highest revenue ever at $658.8 million in sales. This is on the heels of the $681 million in 2019, the highest amount ever in Colorado Lottery history.

The CO Lottery hit the 2020 numbers even with a dip in sales following the state’s stay-at-home order in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Needless to say, it was a remarkable year for the Colorado Lottery.

As Meghan Dougherty, communications manager for the Colorado Lottery, said to PlayColorado:

“We were fortunate during the peak of the pandemic that most of our retailers are grocery and convenience stores, which stayed open and continued to sell lottery products. Lottery commissions are an important part of the income stream for these businesses, so we are happy they could continue to count on lottery income during this stressful time.”

Colorado Lottery hits record sales despite COVID-19

The state and country have undergone plenty of uncertainty since March, but that clearly didn’t stop people from playing the lotto and its allotment of games.

Dougherty said:

“Obviously, we were very surprised to not only see a quick bounce back after the initial shut down. But also that we were able to end the year with sales just a hair under last year, our biggest year in history. We attribute this success to not only our loyal players who turned to the lottery for an entertainment outlet.

Lottery games were easy and accessible to play when Coloradans were at the store. And our retail partners were able to retain that lottery sales revenue by keeping inventory up and continuing to sell lottery games.”

Scratch games show strong growth

In terms of the CO Lottery games that Coloradans played, obviously a portion of the sales is from the Mega Millions and Powerball. There were four high jackpots in the Mega Millions and Powerball over the past fiscal year, according to the Colorado Lottery.

In fact, one Colorado winner hit the Powerball jackpot twice in one day on March 25.

But those aren’t the most popular games, at least according to Dougherty.

“Scratch games are the strongest-growth-product category for the lottery, and aside from the giant jackpots, show the best sales results. Scratch sales have grown by 20% over the past two years, and it can be attributed to the Colorado Lottery following industry-best practices for the category.

For example, we now offer more games for players to choose from at all price points, with an emphasis on higher price point games. Our $50 game is one of our bestsellers, and $20 and $10 products have grown in popularity as well. We also offer more ‘families’ of games. That is games with a similar theme like ‘Multiplier’ or ‘Frenzy.’”

Colorado Lottery gives back

One of  the Colorado Lottery perks — aside from potentially winning a ton of cash — is the benefit it brings to the state. A proceed of the sales goes to preserve and protect Colorado’s parks, trails and open spaces.

As CBS4 points out, of the $658.8 million in revenue, $57 million will go to the Conservation Trust Fund, $14 million will go to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and $870,000 will go to Colorado schools as part of the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program.

In the 37 years of the Colorado Lottery, it has given back more than $3.5 billion.

According to Dougherty:

“Other than offering engaging and entertaining lottery games to adults in Colorado responsibly, supporting the outdoors and schools is the (Colorado) Lottery’s most important job.

When voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992 and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) was created, GOCO has funded more than 5,300 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties across the state without any tax dollar support. Originally set at $35 million, today that cap has grown to over $70.3 million with inflation.

Last year, the Colorado Lottery passed $3.5 billion in proceeds earmarked for the Colorado outdoors and schools. So many partners, like the local governments and nonprofit land trusts supported by GOCO, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Conservation Trust Fund and Building Excellent Schools Together rely on Lottery proceeds funding to enrich Colorado communities, education and connect more people to nature.”

Another jackpot in the cards?

To have a record year despite the challenges, closures and uncertainty is a great sign for the Colorado Lottery.

It shows another record year could be in the cards.

If that happens, the state will continue to benefit as well.

As Dougherty said:

“The (CO) Lottery has a goal to become a $1 billion company by 2023, so we may be able to continue to adequately fund our proceeds beneficiaries that support the outdoors and schools as the state grows. The strong growth with both our scratch products and our Colorado Lotto+ game makes us feel very confident that we can meet our goal.”

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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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