It’s no secret that there are big players in Massachusetts who don’t want to see land-based casinos in their state. The government has already passed a casino expansion act, but the question of whether residents want to see casino expansion has resurfaced. This November, residents will be asked if they want to repeal the state’s casino expansion plan.
Opponents to casinos are doing everything they can to make sure casino expansion doesn’t happen. In one of the latest efforts, opponents are claiming that when casinos open their doors, the state lottery will suffer. And we’re not just talking about a 5% drop in sales. We’re talking about the end of the Massachusetts State Lottery.
But is there any basis for the prediction? Not even close. Just look to the surrounding states for proof.
Ohio and Pennsylvania, both of which have legalized casino gambling, saw very minor effects on lotteries. Sales didn’t drop. Instead, they fell a bit flat. But eventually, the trend reversed and, today, the lottery continues to thrive.
There are numbers to back this claim. In 2006, lottery sales were $3.1 billion. Later that year, the state’s first casino started welcoming players. For about five years, lottery sales were stagnant. But in the last fiscal year, sales skyrocketed to a record $3.8 billion. Yup, sales are up, not down, with casinos competing for business.
The opponents to the Massachusetts casino expansion plan are citing a 2008 legislative study to support their dire lottery prediction. And that study is based on old data.
Massachusetts’ lottery is one of the most successful in the country, with $4.8 billion in sales. Yes, people will start focusing on casinos as the excitement of a new casino takes the spotlight. But people who play the lottery will continue to get their weekly tickets.
And if sales do suffer, it just means that the lottery will have to come up with new and exciting games to get people excited again. In our books, that’s a good thing that will only benefit the gambler in the long run.