As the Connecticut Lottery approaches a milestone next month, officials say state residents are spending more on them than ever.
“On Feb. 16, we’ll turn 40 years old,” said Diane Patterson, vice president of marketing and sales at the Connecticut Lottery Corp. in Rocky Hill.
Statistics posted on the Connecticut Lottery’s website say in Fiscal Year 1972, its first year, sales of the weekly Connecticut Lotto totaled $17,288,925. But Patterson said sales for Fiscal Year 2011, which ended on June 30 of last year, topped $1 billion for the first time, and Fiscal Year 2012 is already looking like it will set even higher record sales.
“We had a very good first two quarters and a very good holiday season,” she said.
In November, Connecticut saw its biggest lottery prize ever, a $245 million jackpot won by three asset managers who work for a Greenwich investment firm. And already this year, the state had its first $1 million winner, a cement truck driver from Ashford, Marilyn Rossi, who bought the winning ticket for the Super Draw game.
Patterson said the Connecticut Lottery Corp. was still preparing its annual report for 2011, but she could report that the lottery paid $289,300,000 for that fiscal year to the state’s general fund to support state programs and reduce taxes.
The next big lottery news is Monday, when tickets go on sale for the newly revamped, multi-state PowerBall game.
The price of a PowerBall ticket will go from $1 to $2, and the minimum guaranteed jackpot prize will jump from $20 million to $40 million. Patterson said other changes will include more chances to win more than $1 million on each drawing, and the overall odds of winning will improve, going from the current 1 in 35 odds to 1 in 31.
“So it’s going to be a little easier to win a prize in PowerBall,” she said.
Patterson added the Lottery disclaimer against excessive betting. “We remind our customers to play responsibly, and you have to be over 18,” she said.