In 2005 lottery players gambled $137 million on the New York Lotto draws, but the projected revenue by the end of the present state fiscal year is just $44 million. The projected revenue generated by New York State Powerball players is $166 million; with Mega Millions following close on its tail with expected revenue of $124 million.
The Lotto's falling revenue is probably attributable to the fact that its jackpots cannot compete with the much larger prizes offered by the multi-state games.
"With Powerball the amount is always so much more than Lotto," one player explained as he compared the size of the jackpots on offer. On the day in question the Lotto Jackpot was $8.4 million, but the Powerball jackpot overshadowed it by $186 million, so it isn't surprising that so many players choose to take a gamble on the bigger games instead of Lotto.
The New York Lotto was introduced in 1978 and one of the early jackpots was just $250,000, but after a slow initial start the game grew in popularity and was the states no.1 game in 1995. Ticket sales reached their peak a couple of years later, and have continued to fall ever since.
New York Lottery spokesman Lee Park admitted that Lotto revenues began to fall with the rise of multi-state jackpots, but declined to comment on the future of the game.