FILE - Pennsylvania Lottery

The offices of the Pennsylvania Lottery in Harrisburg.

The Pennsylvania Lottery sold a record number of tickets during the last fiscal year, and the sales generated a record profit for the state, the second year in a row the agency set a sales record.

The state lottery sold more than $4.5 billion in games in the 2018-19 fiscal year, which ended June 30, up from $4.2 billion a year earlier. The sales resulted in a profit of more than $1.14 billion, breaking the $1.12 billion record set during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The state created the lottery in 1971, and its revenues benefit older residents in Pennsylvania with programs that include free and reduced-fare transportation, property tax and rent rebates and low-cost prescription programs.

“We are always striving to generate more money in a responsible way for programs that benefit older Pennsylvanians,” Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said in a video statement.

“Benefitting older Pennsylvanians every day is more than just our mission statement,” Svitko said in a news release. “Families across the commonwealth rely on the vital senior programs that are funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery. That is why we are extremely proud to have set a new profit record while exceeding $1 billion in proceeds to benefit older adults for the eighth consecutive year.”

The Pennsylvania Lottery is a bureau within the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Lottery sales in Pennsylvania have increased steadily, up from nearly $3.8 billion in sales five years ago during the 2013-14 fiscal year.

During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the lottery also paid a record amount of prizes, shelling out more than $2.9 billion to winners. That is up from more than $2.7 billion a year earlier, according to a release, and 70 players won prizes of $1 million or more during the fiscal year.

Meanwhile, more than 91,100 players created PA iLottery accounts, allowing them to play online games on a computer, tablet or mobile device. It marked the first full fiscal year the lottery offered the games.

These games accounted for more than $381 million in play and generated an estimated $31.3 million in profit. The games paid iLottery winners more than $332 million in prizes.

There are more than 9,700 authorized lottery retailers in Pennsylvania. These retailers earned roughly $266 million in sales commissions during the year, an increase of more than $41.8 million from a year earlier.

Increased lottery sales do not necessarily equate to more calls for help, said Josh Ercole, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania.

“While there is obviously a concern that new types of gambling and more participation may ultimately have an impact on some people, it’s encouraging to see the work that the lottery is doing here in Pennsylvania, at least, to try to do everything to help those folks and also to prevent new problems from developing,” he said.

Anyone with a gambling addiction can call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537).

The Center Square Contributor