Arizona Lottery Sales Up About $24 Million: Good Marketing or Bad Economy?

Nothing like a bad economy to get people to line up for those lottery tickets.

State lottery officials say ticket sales in Arizona totaled $293 million between July 2011 to December 2011, nearly 9 percent over the same mid-term sales figures last year.

Arizona lottery officials parceled out the $293 million, and gave $65 million to the state, paid out $183 million to lucky winners and gave $19 million in commission to retailers who sold the tickets.

The remaining money covers Arizona Lottery's expenses. (Details to come)

Between July and December 2010, the lottery raked in $269 million.

"We could not be more proud in being able to report these strong sales figures, especially during our 30th anniversary year," Jeff Hatch-Miller, executive director of the Arizona Lottery, says in a press release.

He attributes the lottery's "tremendous success" to a focused business and marketing plan.

We're sure they're doing a fine job promoting the lottery, but we suspect that desperate times also might also have a little to do with higher ticket sales.

Arizona Lottery revenues -- about $3 million per week -- fund state programs in the areas of education, health and public welfare, economic and business development and the environment.

Click here to see how Arizona Lottery revenues were spent on Arizona programs in 2010-2011.

Since July 1981, the Arizona Lottery has paid out more than $4.6 billion in prizes to players, nearly $2.7 billion in net profit to the state and more than $550 million in commissions to retailers, lottery officials report.

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