The recent debate over casino gaming in the Commonwealth generated much discussion about the need for reliable revenue sources for our cities and towns. As in any controversial issue, the facts can get lost in the debate. That is surely the case with regard to the performance of our Massachusetts State Lottery Commission (MSLC).
Over the past few months, there’s been a lot of talk about the Lottery and its revenue stream. Contrary to the inaccurate claims made by a few pro-casino advocates, the Massachusetts Lottery continues to flourish and compete in the gaming industry with Fortune 500 profits.
The critics try to say our state lottery has matured and may be declining, but the facts and figures tell a much different story which bodes well for Massachusetts cities and towns. While lotteries in other states may be hitting a plateau, the Massachusetts Lottery is, in fact, having its best year ever. Gross lottery revenues are actually increasing. FY08 revenues are up 6.2% over FY07. After the first six months of FY08, the Lottery has already raised $476 million.
Our Lottery has actually never looked better and future growth is expected. Profits are now up 3% from its highest performing year. Current trends show that there is room for new growth and technology.
The Massachusetts Lottery is the most effectively run lottery in the U.S. in terms of generating government revenue. Administrative costs are less than 2% of the overall revenue. The Lottery workforce is dedicated, reliable and cost efficient and has worked hard to make the lottery the success it has become. The Massachusetts Lottery has the highest prize payouts of any other lottery in the nation. That combination sustains its viability and growth potential.
The State Lottery has been a dependable source of tax relief for over 37 years. All lottery profits, per state statute, are used for local aid and arts programs. Those dedicated local aid funds are a critical part of helping cities and towns pay for vital services.
The Massachusetts State Lottery continues to be a solid dedicated revenue source that cities and towns can benefit from now and in the future. The facts and the odds are definitely in the taxpayers’ favor.
President, SEIU Local 888