June 22, 1997 in City

Lower Profits Expected From Montana Lottery

Associated Press

Montana Lottery officials hope that new innovations will spark renewed interest in the lottery and end a financial skid for the state-sponsored gambling business.

Jerry LaChere, lottery director, has told members of the Lottery Commission he expects total sales and profits to be lower than predicted when the budget year ends June 30.

The lottery’s predicted annual revenue likely will be $27.8 million, or $3.6 million less than anticipated a year ago. Likewise, the lottery probably will put $6.8 million into the state treasury by the end of this month, rather than the anticipated $7.3 million.

In contrast, the lottery raked in $32.9 million in gross revenue two years ago and made a profit of $8.6 million.

LaChere blames the lower-than-expected performance on “jackpot fatigue” and a three-month delay in implementing a system that allows winning scratch tickets to be redeemed anywhere.

He explained that jackpot fatigue occurs when players become so accustomed to large prizes that it takes bigger and bigger jackpots to sustain sales levels.

“This declining sales trend is not unique to Montana,” LaChere said. “The majority of other state lotteries’ lotto games have also experienced sales declines.”

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