Giant jackpot games pay off more for N.J. than Pa.

Powerball has paid off more for New Jersey than Mega Millions has for Pennsylvania.

At the end of January, dozens of states, instead of just selling one or the other jumbo-jackpot game, began selling both, hoping to boost their bottom lines.

Sales fell short of expectations, though.

Pennsylvania, long a Powerball state, projected $80 million in additional sales from Mega Millions during the fiscal year, which ended June 30, according to state spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis.

The actual haul was about half that: $40.8 million.

New Jersey raked in considerably more - an estimated $71 million. But that fell short of the hoped-for $96 million.

The Powerball take was enough to propel New Jersey to a new record for lottery revenue - about $2.6 billion, breaking the old mark by about $66.7 million, according to spokesman Dominick DeMarco.

The established jackpot games brought in similar amounts in each state - $313 million for Powerball in Pennsylvania, $307.1 million for Mega Millions in New Jersey. The Garden State, though, saw an increase of 16 percent in Mega Millions compared to a hike of 0.8 percent for Powerball in the Keystone State.

Snow was one reason Pennsylvania's overall sales fell a little short of several previous years for sales and profits, officials say. Sales for fiscal 2009-10 totaled $3.065 billion, off about $22.4 million from the previous year.

"February was by far the worst month of the fiscal year for ticket sales," said Pennsylvania lottery director Ed Trees. "The lottery estimates it lost between $20 million and $25 million in ticket sales during back-to-back snow storms in February that hampered travel in most areas of the state, and we never fully recovered those lost sales."

Since instant games provide more than half of the revenue in Pennsylvania, snow alone could explain why the scratch-offs were down about $8.9 million from a year ago. The total instant take was $1.75 billion.

Scratch-offs accounted for $1.3 billion in New Jersey, half of that state's total lottery revenue.

As far as benefits for taxpayers, Pennsylvania had its fourth-best year ever, netting $915.7 million for programs that benefit senior citizens.

New Jersey raised even more - a record $924 million to benefit education and a range of institutions, according to DeMarco. That topped the previous year's record by about $37 million.

Pennsylvania pointed out that total annual sales have grown by more than $1 billion since fiscal year 2001-02.


For more on lotteries, go to www.philly.com/philly/news/lottery, www.powerball.com or www.megamillions.com.