RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s state-run lottery has for the first time exceeded $1 billion in annual net earnings, buoyed by record sales credited in part to interest in enormous multistate jackpot drawings, officials said Wednesday.
The North Carolina State Lottery Commission announced the net earnings of $1.015 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, or $85 million above what the games generated in the previous year. It also exceeded the $885 million goal set in last year’s state budget.
The lottery also reported record sales of more than $4.3 billion during the last fiscal year, or $456 million higher than in the previous one.
While much of the revenue growth came from instant ticket sales, sales for MegaMillions and Powerball number drawings in North Carolina also soared, with MegaMillions alone more than doubling compared with 2021-22, according to a lottery document. There were three jackpots of more than $1 billion, totaling seven drawings, WRAL-TV reported.
Year-over-year sales for some daily draw games actually declined, according to lottery data.
The net education proceeds went toward school construction and repairs, the N.C. Pre-K Program, college scholarships, salaries for non-instructional support personnel and school transportation.
The lottery says it’s now raised $10 billion for the state since its first tickets were sold in 2006.
Planning is now underway to start selling digital instant games in November and regulate sports wagering beginning in the first half of 2024. The General Assembly passed a law in June authorizing sports gambling.
A provision in the final state budget that will become law early next week prohibits the lottery from offering “casino-style table games” online. But the language was not intended to stop the digital instants, Hayden Bauguess, the lottery’s director of governmental affairs, told the commission Wednesday.